Mira Sorvino Says ‘Kids Suffer’ with Sitters

05/14/2010 at 04:00 PM ET
Jeff Vespa/Getty

Oscar winner Mira Sorvino has stepped back from the spotlight — and she’s never been happier.

“I don’t want to take time away from my kids. I used to work all year long and basically live in hotel rooms,” she admits to PARADE.

Still occasionally lending her talents for smaller roles, Sorvino’s priorities have shifted to her children — Mattea Angel, 5½, Johnny Christopher King, 3½, and Holden Paul Terry, 10 months — with husband Christopher Backus.

Willing to admit a balance may exist when it comes to juggling career and family, for Sorvino the choice was obvious.

“Somewhere I guess there is a middle ground, but you see your kids suffer when you leave them with someone else,” she opines.

“Kudos to women who can pull that off, but I don’t want my kids raised by nannies.”

And while the decision hasn’t been easy, with the Multiple Sarcasms star turning down several “intriguing situations both financially and career-wise,” the mother-of-three is determined to spend as much time with her family as possible.

“I already feel this future sense of loss — they’re going to grow up and go away and I’ll be alone. I’m so attached to my kids that I even hate to see my daughter go on a playdate,” Sorvino, 42, says.

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Why don’t you stay here with me?'”

– Anya Leon

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Lorus on

I have the same feelings as Mira. I didn’t want to have kids just so someone else could take care of them 10 hours a day. We’ve made some sacrifices so that I can stay home with our kids but I think it’s important for our family.

Anonymous on

yeah, well some people can’t afford to stay home, we need both our incomes. i am truly jealous of those who can pull it off, unfortunately we can’t. hopefully my son won’t turn into a less than worthy person just because he goes to daycare. oh, and let your child go on a playdate – it’s good for them!

Anonymous on

wow, what a judgmental comment. some people can’t afford to stay home with their children and have no choice but to put them in day care of leave them in the hands of nannies

whatever on

I totally agree with Mira, as well. I have never understood choosing to have children, only to leave them in someone else’s care for most of the day. We have also made many sacrifices to enable me to take time off from working while our children are young, but it is more than worth it!

Tia on

I’m very disappointed in the title of this post. It’s quite misleading. There is a difference in a “sitter” who generally watches children for a short period of time, ie. when mom and dad need a dinner out on their own – and a “nanny” who generally cares for the children for extended and repeated periods of time.

Jo on

Well, Whatever, I guess I shouldn’t have had my kids since I do leave them with a childminder 2 days a week.
Sometimes people have to work. Sometimes life throws up situations where you might have to go back to work. How elitist that only those who can afford to be home full time should have children.

Hallie on

I’m always curious about the families who *have* to have nannies (since both parents work) — childcare is expensive. I used to be a nanny, and I made $2,200 a month. Why pay a nanny that? Why not have one parent stay home and save that $26,400 a year? If you make sacrifices (i.e., don’t eat out a lot, don’t pay for cable, etc.) you CAN make it work!

Hallie on

(I do want to add, though, that I completely understand needing childcare if the kids are being raised by a single parent.)

Taylor on

I’m a full-time mother who loves her job and wouldn’t trade my career for the world. That said, my children are my number one priority and I’ll be damned if I allow someone to tell me I shouldn’t have had children because I also wanted to make use of a degree I worked so desperately hard for.

My children have in no way suffered because of the person who cares for them when I’m away. I’m their parent regardless. That doesn’t vary depending on whether or not I choose to work or stay home with them. To say otherwise is foolish.

Every mother has to do what’s best for her. There is no reason to judge a person just because they made a decision different from yours. Despite what anyone may say, stay at home mothers are not better than working mothers and working mothers are not better than stay at home mothers.

It’s ridiculous to see how little women support one another. I suppose it’s not a coincidence while most friends I’ve had have been males.

Elizabeth on

Kudos to someone who can be so rude to others and still smile pretty at the camera!! Who knew Mira was so wise…

maryhelenc on

Wow. Must be nice to stay home & judge all day. Me, I have to work to provide for my daughters. There are far worse things than a child living in a two income family & I sacrifice by working to give them everything they need.

Hallie on

It doesn’t have to be a mother who stays home — why not a father?

TC on

I’m a full time nanny and I don’t think the kids suffer because their parents work. Mom is the breadwinner so she has to work and dad is trying to get his business off the ground so he also has to work. They chose me, the more expensive route, because their oldest constantly got sick at daycare and they didn’t want to put a newborn in daycare. I love my charges like they were my own. We spend our days playing make believe, laughing, going on field trips to the zoo, park, museums, movies and anything else we think is fun. We do arts and crafts while learning our letters. Mom sends me pictures of the kids wearing silly clothes or doing something silly on my days off and I send her pictures of the kids almost daily during our activities.

If you get a good nanny, someone that actually loves your kids and isn’t doing it for the paycheck then your kids absolutely will not suffer with a nanny.

Ash on

“If you make sacrifices (i.e., don’t eat out a lot, don’t pay for cable, etc.) you CAN make it work!”

Um… No. My husband currently has an income of less than $40k/year (I’m unemployed). We’re barely getting by right now, and it’s just the two of us. We live in a tiny one bedroom apartment, and we hardly ever leave the house to do anything because we can’t spend the money. That means no dates, no movies, nothing. Pasta is our main food group because it’s cheap (so we don’t even eat as healthy as we should). How the heck could we afford to bring a child into the mix?! It’s EXTREMELY naive and shortsighted to believe that anyone can make it work. That isn’t reality, sorry.

Putting a child in daycare is not the end of the world. I have several friends with children in daycare (because they have to work in order to feed them), and their kids love it! Also, as someone who grew up with a stay at home mother, I wish she wouldn’t have done that :(. She left her secure job at a bank after my sister was born, and I’ve witnessed first hand the long term consequences of that. All of the lost income over the years has put my parents in a really bad financial position. They weren’t able to adequately invest in their retirement because of it so now they’re looking to my husband and I to take care of them (and we’re only in our late 20s)! They’re currently living with us, and I’m starting to resent them because of this whole mess which makes me very sad. I would have much preferred for my mother to have worked all these years (not to mention, she wouldn’t have lost her own identity to “mommy-dom”… she constantly complains about not having a career of her own).

TC on

Ohh and Hallie you might want to think outside the box dear. My boss brings home a LOT more than my salary about 5 times as much, yes if she didn’t have me she would save a small chunk of change each year but that wouldn’t make up for her salary if she quit.

Michelle on

oh mira… none of us want our children raised by nannies. What a pitiful condescending comment. Good for you that you got to stay at home with your children. Must be a little break from riding on your daddy’s acting coat tails.

Julia on

Different strokes, and I’m not going to repeat the mistake of passing judgment on how other families parent their children, although I can’t help but take STRONG issue with the suggestion that because I’ve worked hard to build a career that I love and have become extremely successful, I shouldn’t have had children at all. I happen to be a loving, patient, devoted mother who is (yes, HERSELF) raising three delightful, well-behaved, smart, funny, and confident children. Imagine that.

Here’s my major gripe about the article (and some of the comments): When I’m not with my children during the day, I am NOT turning their “raising” over to someone else. *I* raise them. I wake up with them every day, I put them to bed every night. I read their favorite stories, I take them to all of their doctor and dentist appointments and hold them when they’re scared or getting shots. I sleep on the floor next to their beds when they’re sick. I plan their birthday parties, and I’m with them when they open their eyes on Christmas morning and run like crazy to see what Santa brought. I am teaching them table manners and not to talk to strangers, and how caterpillars turn into butterflies, and how to tie shoelaces. I’ll be the tooth fairy when they loose their first teeth, and I’ll follow behind the school bus in my car on their first days of kindergarten, and I kiss booboos and pick out new clothes and know all their favorite foods. They are my priority, and in cases of conflict between my work and my family, there’s no question but that my family comes first (which doesn’t mean that I can’t also work, and do it well). I’ve never doubted for a moment who’s “raising” my kids. I am.

My personal view is that my working gives my children MORE, not less, even if every minute of their weekdays aren’t spent with just me. I’m also giving them a deep and widespread net of people who care about them and take care of them and teach them and help them. It’s not just mom who loves them and spends time with them and can answer questions and kiss owies (although I’m still their first choice!). They have a nanny who’s like a beloved big sister, and preschool teachers who hug them when I drop them off, and grandma and grandpa just down the street who take them to the park and for sleepovers and on adventures around town, and neighborhood friends who welcome them in with smiles and open arms any time they want to play. I think my kids are so outgoing and confident BECAUSE they’ve grown up knowing that the world is a big, happy place filled with lots of people who love them. It’s a sort of it-takes-a-village mentality, but I really, genuinely believe that having so many loving adults in their lives has made them the exceptional little people they are.

And by working, I’m giving them something else too. I’m setting a living, everyday example for all three of my kids that mommies don’t “stay home” and daddies don’t “go to work,” mommies can and do work just like daddies. My kids will all grow up knowing that women have the same choices and opportunities as men, and they can decide to have a career AND a family (and do both well), it’s not an either/or choice. I especially want my girls to have that as their background rule growing up. Sky’s the limit, kiddos!

KD on

I cannot believe how judgemental Mira’s comments are. I have worked most of my children’s lives (I have four) and am at home now due to caring for my disabled husband, but that will be changing in the fall because we cannot make it on his disability. I worked before because I enjoyed it. I still ensured quality time with my children and was careful about childcare. My children are all in school full time now and I am attempting to find a job where I will be home when they are, but I still may need to put them in after school care. It must be nice to have a wealthy husband who allows you to sit and criticize others. In addition, why can’t dad stay home? The last time I checked, they had a hand in the procreation process as well.
BTW, my children have never suffered from being in childcare or having a babysitter. I have four wonderfully intelligent independent children.

Ash on

Oh, and to say that a couple shouldn’t have kids if they need to put them in daycare. Hah! That’s funny. I can’t believe there are actually elitists out who think that way (then again, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Some of the people who comment on this site scare me). Personally, I think it’s wonderful if a child has two college educated parents that work hard every day! In my humble opinion, it sets an excellent example.

Jenny on

I have been a nanny for 7 years and a babysitter for 14. No child that I have ever taken care of has suffered. I have always become part of the family, I still talk to every kid that I have ever worked with. I can understand not wanting to have a child if they are going to be “raised by nannies” but there is a big difference between having childcare, and having someone else raise your child.

Erin on

Taylor – you’re my hero! You hit the nail on the head about the entire topic. It’s no wonder women make less than men and have less power in the world. We spend our free time judging other women instead of assuming the best (or at least the not-worst) about them. Have you ever heard a group of men saying nasty things about other dads? They don’t.

Daniella on

So, I guess that I should just choose not to have kids then because I’ll be a full-time veterinarian? If that’s the case, then no doctors would be having children & as a result, there would even less doctors than there are now because I know a lot of med/vet/dent students who’d drop out if they were told they shouldn’t have children.

Sorry, but after working for over ten years on my degree & going well over $150,000+ in the hole to get it, I’m going to use it & have a family on top of it. My single-mother was able to raise my brothers & myself while working with the help of friends, family & daycare & we’ve all turned out prety well. Some of us don’t have a choice between working or staying home if we don’t want to starve. But I can guarantee you that if both working parents are checked into the lives of their children, those kids will be just as happy & fulfilled as those who have stay-at-home mothers. My brothers & I were very happy with our mother who kept us fed, warm & loved despite working two full-time jobs.

allie on

Julia – love your comment. Could not have said it better myself, and it expresses my feelings exactly. Thank you.

Janna on

I personally believe that if you leave your kids with daycare (nanny, babysitter, grandma… whatever you want to call it), that you ARE allowing someone else to at least *partially* raise your children.

If someone else cares for them for fully 1/3 of the day, and they sleep for 1/3 of the day, that means you care for them for 1/3 of the day. You and the sitter are spending equal time to raise those kids. How can you deny that?

Now, with that said, maybe you’re operating a one-parent household. Maybe both parents are there, but can’t afford to have one parent stay home. Maybe you both choose to work for your own personal reasons. Whatever your choice, that’s YOUR business, but let’s not pretend that someone else isn’t a HUGE part of raising your kids.

It’s clear that Mira Sorvino is talking about people in HER position who can clearly afford to stay home with their kids, yet choose to have them raised by outsiders for the majority of the time. She is not talking about a single-parent home where the parent is barely making ends meet.

Every choice in life is just that. A choice. You don’t need to defend YOUR choice to anyone, least of all a celebrity who you’ve never met and leads a life the likes of which most of us will never know.

JessicaC on

How is her comment condescending or rude? It’s the truth, you ladies just dont like it because it makes you feel like less of a mother. Well thats how SAHM’s feel when you imply we’re “stupid” or wasting our lives. I too have a college degree, that will be put to use when my kids go to school. Right now, they’re at home so I need to be too. Think of it this way..if you could go back in time would you rather have been raised by a nanny, plopped in a daycare, or raised by your mommy? I dont buy sob stories either. THERE is always a way. My hubby and I started out 20 & 21 broke as a joke, no cable, 1 car, we lived without luxuries for a bit and I stayed home with our son from day 1 and I managed to still feed my family something other than pasta. Hubby worked his tail off and now has a great job and bought us a great starter home. Like everything else in life, it’s much easier to complain about how difficult something is than to JUST DO IT. I definitely respect the moms who can come right out and say “I just want to work” or “I cant handle being with my kids all day” I think that level of honesty is admirable, I just cant stand the working moms who cower around excuses…

Mary on

Taylor, if your children are your #1 priority, why do you choose not to see the ALL day? It’s a contradictory statement.

I agree with Mira too. When I was a teenager and thought about the future and having kids, I knew I’d be raising them, not working while they were with strangers. That was my choice. If I couldn’t afford to have children and stay home, I would never have had them.
I too, like Mira, miss my kids like crazy even when I go shopping for an hour and my DH is home watching them. I rush in the door and scream, “I missed you” because I genuinely do. I couldn’t imagine not seeing them all day, I just don’t get it people and I never will. I wouldn’t work if I got paid millions. Kids come first.

Renee on

Why is it when people have money they think they have the right to tell the rest of us how to live? If I had the money Mira made then of course I’d chose staying home. Unfortunately this is not the case and my daughter does not lack in anything from me. What a snobby attitude to have Mira!!!

TC on

Actually Jessica my mother did stay home and raise my brother and I and I wished she hadn’t. We missed out on a lot growing up because we couldn’t afford anything. I couldn’t be in any extracurricular activities that cost money because we had none. No dance, band, gymnastics…nothing. My mother came to resent the fact that we had no money and took it out on my brother and I.

If I could change the past I wish we had gone to daycare and my mother had worked.

JessicaC on

Ash, I have to say I completely resent your comments about sahm’s having no identity, thats bogus and a very ignorant thing to say. Some women actually LIKE raising their kids from sun up until sun down. Julia, I cant say that I agree with you 100%, but I respect your reasons and there are much worse mothers out there then well spoken ones like yourself :) I also think it’s totally awesome that you’re able to finacially support 3 kids on your own! Just out of curiosity, if in 25 years your daughter wanted to be a SAHM would you tell her she was being stupid or would you respect her decision? I wish my mom was as well thought as you :)

Chris on

Some women *gasp* actually want to work outside the home *gasp* even if they have children.

B.J. on

My Mom HAD to go back to work when I was 2 (my sister was 3). She cried for days when they realized there was no way she could stay home with us, my parents needed both incomes.

I’m taken aback by all the people who tsk-tsk working moms. My mom is AMAZING, my best friend.. and she worked full-time. That doesn’t mean we weren’t her first priority, as some here suggest. Daycare wasn’t so bad, and I never felt neglected or that I wasn’t important.

I admire SAHMs, but must they be so critical of working moms who have no choice? Sad.

Ash on

“I too have a college degree, that will be put to use when my kids go to school. Right now, they’re at home so I need to be too. Think of it this way..if you could go back in time would you rather have been raised by a nanny, plopped in a daycare, or raised by your mommy? I dont buy sob stories either. THERE is always a way. My hubby and I started out 20 & 21 broke as a joke, no cable, 1 car, we lived without luxuries for a bit and I stayed home with our son from day 1 and I managed to still feed my family something other than pasta.”

I’m assuming you’re addressing me based on your pasta comment. All I have to say is- do the damn math! Not everyone can make it work financially. I belong to a group in which several of the mothers stay at home and act like they’re holier than thou just because they can, but I learned their little secret. The only reason they’re able to stay home is because they’re receiving benefits!!! (Welfare, food stamps, etc.). It makes me sick. My husband makes less than $40k/year (and that’s gross). Once you deduct the cost of rent (and we live in one of the cheapest apartments in the city) in addition to our other bills, there’s not much left. We’ve already made many sacrifices. If we had a child right now, we would have to be on welfare too because there’s no other way we could afford to feed them and provide everything else they need.

Also, you’re very naive if you think that you can be out of the work force for so many years and then step right back in as if nothing happened. Take a look around. Do you even realize how competitive the job market is now? Sure, you’ll probably be able to get a job later on in retail, but a high paying position that utilizes your degree? I doubt it. You’re going to get passed over by other people who have more experience than you do.

To address your other point, I was raised by a stay at home mother, but I would have preferred that she put me in day care! So there you go lol. Staying at home for your children is not always the best decision for them (read my above post if you don’t understand).

Some of you ladies should get off your high horses and stop being so judgmental. It’s not becoming.

Caroline on

Wow Mary. For most mothers it is not a choice. Not everyone can afford to stay at home all day with their children and by no means does that mean you shouldn’t have them. A working mother does not love her children any less than a stay at home mother…your comment is ridiculous.

Ash on

Mary-

Believe it or not (and I know this may come as a shock), but not all women are like you and not all women feel the same way you do! Not everyone’s lives revolve around their kids, and I think it teaches their children a valuable lesson.

Ash on

Also, I feel the need to point out that not everyone wants to raise their kids while being broke. If my husband and I both have to work so that my children can have piano lessons, go on school trips to Europe, play several different sports, etc. then so be it. My parents were relatively poor when I was growing up so I couldn’t do any of those things. I want my children to have more choices and experiences because that’s what life is about.

Jill on

Calm down people. You all need to read her comments again. She is only talking about HER feelings about HER children.

She is not saying anything negative about others and their choices.

I think a lot of you are way overblowing her comments and misreading them!

Anonymous on

As a nanny I’m very frustrated by this comment. Yes we can never replace a biological parents love, but we do are best to provide a warm loving playful atmosphere for the children. We certainly don’t harm them in any way, obviously she needed to do better background research on her nannies if she felt her children were “suffering.” Anyway who takes this stance is naieve and should think before they talk! She just insulted all childcare providers not to mention parents who have to work to make a proper home for there children. Shame on you.

noam on

some of you take these things WAY too personally! mira clearly says “kudos” to mothers who have found a way to balance work and kids, but says SHE doesn’t want HER kids being raised by nannies. i’d understand your outrage if she said “working mothers are horrible women” (or something like that) but you’re just interpreting innocent comments to fuel baseless anger…

Mary on

I think that some of you should try living as a single mother for a bit. Take dear old DH’s income out of the picture and let’s see how judgmental you are then!

Ash on

“Ash, I have to say I completely resent your comments about sahm’s having no identity, thats bogus and a very ignorant thing to say.”

No, it’s neither bogus nor ignorant. And nowhere did I say that all stay at home parents feel that way, but many do like my mother for instance. Staying at home is not all puppies and rainbows, and it can have unpredicted consequences in the long run. In my case, my mom (now at the age of 50) regrets not having her own career and regrets being so poor that she has to rely on my husband and I for a place to live. That isn’t exactly helpful to one’s self-esteem, and it’s hurting my relationship with my parents! I can’t even describe in words how much I wish that my mom had worked all these years instead.

It’s false and misleading for people to preach that staying at home is always the best approach to raising children. Sometimes the best approach is working and putting your kid in daycare! (I know some of you are probably clutching your pearls right now… lol).

Stella Bella on

I can see what she means. My husband and I both spent a lot of time with sitters, nannies and at day care and it SUCKED. Was it damaging to be thrown around so much instead of having a more stable routine? Yeah, I think it was.

Fifi on

I’m in a weird position because decent childcare in my area is really expensive! It’s actually one of the more expensive areas in the US for daycare, despite having an otherwise low cost of living. I stay home because my yearly wage was less than a year of daycare! Crazy. Money is always tight, and I always feel like I don’t pull my weight because I’m not bringing in money. Eventuallly I know I’ll have to go back to work, but not until my salary would be more than daycare.

Carli on

I don’t think Mira was offensive at all. It depends on your situation. I felt Mira was referencing the type of nannies/nannying with moms that have that certain negative stigma attached to them. When many people hear the word “nanny” I think they automatically see the stereotypical large house where mom doesn’t have a job and enjoys the majority of her days at the spa and out to lunch with other rich housewives instead of spending time with their children who ARE raised by a nanny. Those situations exist, but at the same time we all now know through these comments and comments on other boards about nannying and childcare, that the majority of the time a nanny does not fit in that category. Everyone’s child-raising is their personal business; if Mira does not want her children to be raised by anyone but her, then that’s great for her and her kids especially if she can afford it. I don’t think she was attacking working mothers and fathers or part-time working mothers and fathers at all.

Sandy L on

I am an example of a family of FOUR living comfortably in a high cost of living area with an income of less than $45k and we do not use govt assistance. It is possible, you just have to be willing to make sacrifices.

I also do not think Mira is being rude or selfish. I know a lot of women who most certainly choose their careers over their children. However, not ALL working moms are like that and to imply that is ridiculous.

Anonymous on

I couldn’t have said it any better than Julia did in her post. “My personal view is that my working gives my children MORE, not less, even if every minute of their weekdays aren’t spent with just me. I’m also giving them a deep and widespread net of people who care about them and take care of them and teach them and help them.” Also, “And by working, I’m giving them something else too. I’m setting a living, everyday example for all three of my kids that mommies don’t “stay home” and daddies don’t “go to work,””

Our nanny is a member of our family, and she fiercely loves my daughter. I choose to work and we all benefit from the additional income, including my daughter. I am also able to provide for her should anything happen to my husband. I believe women should be independent and capable, both of which I want to teach to my daughter.

And to those who think that I would save money staying home- I make quadruple what I pay our nanny, who is well-paid. I wouldn’t save anything- we would lose a significant amount of income.

From the moment I get home to the moment I leave for work, I am with my daughter. She sleeps with me, she nurses from me, she plays with me, she is held by me. She is my number one priority. I do not expect her nanny to raise her- she cares for her in my absence, but my husband and I raise our daughter, no one else.

I am so sick of the judgmental attitudes and the SAHM vs WOHM. It’s ridiculous. Being a good mom is about sooo much more than working or staying home.

Ash on

Well, Sandy, since you seem to be an expert, would you mind posting your monthly budget breakdown so we can all see how you make it work? I’m sure it would be helpful to a lot of people. I’d love to see how you manage a mortgage/rent, all utility bills, doctor bills (co-pays/deductibles), dentist bills, etc. on $45k/year for a family of four. I’d honestly like to know.

Ash on

Also, what percentage of your income do you and your husband contribute to your retirement funds? I often see parents say that they’re able to make it work, but they’re not investing any of their money. Social security isn’t going to be around when we retire so funding a 401k or Roth IRA now is very important (so you have at least 20-30 years for it to grow).

Robyn on

I am quite surprised at some of these comments. My husband and I live in a very expensive area of the country (yes, our choice, but we are near all of our family and friends). We both need to work to survive. I make enough that even with daycare I still contribute a very significant amount of money to our monthly income (I make more than hubby) as well as being able to put a nice chunk of money into college funds which we would be otherwise unable to do. We like to travel and do fun things and I am not going to apologize for that. I know our children will grow up well rounded and loved and I like that my daughter will see me as someone who worked very hard for what I have. If my husband made twice as much and I could stay at home I would probably still work part time for some mental stimulation and I also think it is good for children to experience pre-school and have interactions with other children. I work with many WONDERFUL working moms who are managing a demanding career as well as raising well adjusted children.

Laura on

I don’t really agree with Mira. Some people need nannies because tehy have to work (or they WANT to work and there is nothing wrong with that!)

I am angry with the people in these comments who say if you can’t stay home to raise the children because you can’t afford it then don’t have them. Well guess what? Having children has been my dream since I was about 10 years old. I’m in my early 20’s now and I don’t care, I will have a child someday. Hopefully I will have a husband and be able to be a SAHM (that is what I WANT to do) But if in 10 years, I decide to have a child on my own and put him/her in daycare so that I can work to raise him/her then that is MY decision. I’m not going to give up my dream of being a mom simply because I have to work instead of staying home with my child. If other people feel that way then fine, don’t have kids. But don’t tell me that I shouldn’t.

Heather on

Julia, you couldn’t have put it better. Thank you for that comment! For all of you who think Mira’s comments are elitist, try getting this crap from your child’s great grandmother. Apparently my beautiful, happy, inquisitive, bright babies shouldn’t exist because my husband and I have made the choice to both work. I deserve to be fulfilled after all those years of university with a career that makes me happy. That definately doesn’t make me a bad mother, and my children certainly aren’t suffering as a result. They have a childcare provider that they adore, and it does me proud to see how happy they are when they’re with her.

ecl on

This old debate again. This is not about SAHM vs working moms, this is about men vs women and families vs capitalism. Men need to do their share of the child rearing and let women do their share of the workforce labor. Companies need to be more family friendly. Women are told that they must work (or they are useless and dependent) AND take care of their children (or they are bad mothers). The result is a lose/lose situation so they turn on each other and attach each other’s decision in order to justify their own. It is a bummer to miss out on time with children and it is a bummer to be dependent on a man for your income. Just acknowledge that both sides are making tough choices, if they have much of a choice at all.

Bonnie on

I would just like to say, I am a nanny and I am not the one who is “raising the kids”. Their parents (mom AND dad) are both the ones making the decisions and taking care of them primarily, I just come during the day and have fun with them while Mom and Dad set a good example of hardworking people who find fulfillment doing their jobs and are also much more involved parents than most. For some people, staying home is the right choice, but for others maintaining a career and passions outside of the home allow them to be the most balanced and fulfilled parents that they can be. I can’t believe that she would say this out loud, knowing that lots of dedicated working parents would be reading it!

Siobhan on

I find these comments a little hard to stomach, kids do not lose out just because they have a nanny or go to daycare.

The important thing, as a parent, I believe is being present when you are with your children, even if it’s at the end of a day’s work being there, helping when you can.

I think there is a balance, but some of Mira’s comments sound like maybe she isn’t quite there…asking her children whether they wouldn’t prefer to stay with her? My Mom was like that with me sometimes and it made me feel guilty for wanting to go away.

Of course this is merely projection.

I think balance is important

Julia on

Jessica, if either of my girls (I have two, and one boy) decide to be a SAHM, I’11 support their decisions fully, because I’d know that they’d made the choice that was best for their families, and I’d feel confident that they realize that they HAVE choices and options and opportunities. I made a different choice for MY life in MY circumstances, and I try my darnedest not to pass judgment (express or implied) on how other families CHOOSE to parent their children in their own, very different circumstances. I’m piping up here because I’m puzzled and annoyed that perfect strangers conclude from the simple fact that I work outside the home that I’m less devoted to my children or less entitled to be a parent.

And I don’t read the article as some innocuous explanation of the choice SHE made. She said, in a direct QUOTE, that “you see your kids suffer when you leave them with someone else” (NOT something more personal and individualized, like “I feel like my children don’t get the best I have to offer when others care for them”). I do take exception to the idea that my children SUFFER because I work, and I imagine that most parents who work, whether because they have to or because they want to, would feel the same way. Does anyone really think that any parent WANTS her child to SUFFER?

I could write a novel about the many ways that my children are loved, and the many people that love them, and the many ways that their lives are rich because of the choices we’ve made for them. But no need — WE are satisfied that we’re doing the right things for our family. Full stop. Our next-door neighbors, several of our closest friends, and even my beloved in-laws made different choices about how to “raise” and parent their kids. It’s a beautiful thing, how we all are charged with doing that for our own families. Even more beautiful when we can be respectful about folks who make different choices. I don’t think “you see your kids suffer when you leave them with someone else” qualifies as respectful (nor are a few of the comments here), because there’s a subtle (or sometimes not to subtle) suggestion that a mother who also works is somehow less devoted, less loving, or even(I can hardly believe this one, it no longer being the eighteenth century) less ENTITLED TO HAVE CHILDREN. Baloney.

And as a grace note to my earlier post, there’s a little something in the “strangers raising my children” concept that gets me even apart from the “raising” thing (which I’m more than satisfied for myself that I’m doing just fine) — the STRANGERS thing. Honest to goodness, do we believe that anyone other than a MOTHER qualifies as a STRANGER? Again, that one strikes me as pure hooey. My husband (yes, I’m married, I guess I elided that in my earlier post, OOPS, don’t tell the hubs!) stayed home with our oldest for more than a year, because I’m the family breadwinner and he was just starting to get a new business off the ground. He’s clearly not a stranger to our children, so does that except me from the prohibition against working motherhood (but only for that year)? And his parents, who spend time with our kids regularly, certainly aren’t strangers. If I did choose to SAHM, I’d be spending at least two afternoons a week in an empty house, because my in-laws whisk the kiddos away for various adventures constantly. Yep, my children’s GRANDPARENTS participate in RAISING THEM. Can you believe that I think that’s a fine idea, and even good for my children? And even our nanny is not a “stranger,” as the posts from the nannies here should make plain as day. She is a beloved and valued member of our family, as devoted as we are to our childrens’ best interests and as warm and loving as could be. Do I feel guilt that I work while she spends time with them? Not for a millisecond — no more than I imagine Michelle Duggar (a SAHM) does when one of her older children tends to one of the younger ones. I suppose that there are plenty of families where older children participate in the “raising” of their younger siblings, whether the mothers WOH or SAH or something in between. In our house, our nanny plays that same, exact part for our children, and they love her implicitly. (Funnily enough, even though she spends 1/3 of the WEEKDAY time with them, less time they spend on playdates, at preschool, or with other friends or grandparents, they still aren’t confused about who their MOMMY is!)

So to sum up (have ya’ll figured out yet that I’m a lawyer?), I don’t agree that my children suffer because I work, I don’t think I’m not raising them (tho’ I admit happily and proudly that I’m not doing that all by myself but with the assistance of a whole cadre of people who love them tremendously), and I don’t think the folks who spend time with them when I don’t are strangers to them in any way. My life led me to where I am, other moms ended up in different places, and if we spent more time seeing the value in the choices others have made instead of trying to pick them apart or find fault, we’d all be better off. Mira’s comments in the article struck me as crossing the line from “this is what we decided to do” to “any other choice is not good parenting,” so I abandoned my usual policy of internet anonymity to weigh in.

BTW, my dearest friend is a SAHM who left a rocketing career in the IP field to SAH. I think she’s a wonderful mother and her children are lucky to have her. She thinks the same thing about me and mine. THAT is good stuff. :)

ellen on

“A bummer to be dependent on a man for your income.” I am not dependent on “a man.” I am dependent on my husband and he is equally dependent on me in other ways. It’s called a give and take relationship. Being independent in a marriage would strip marriage of it’s major joy: symbiosis. The feminist movement has preached “independence” to women so hard and for so long that we don’t even know what it should mean to us anymore. We don’t get married and have families for independence.

I personally LOVE being a SAHM to my daughter and a wife to my husband. We live on nothing (under 30K), without welfare. We make choices that enable us BOTH to live our dreams; My husband is in graduate school and I am raising our daughter.

If your dream is to have a career, do it. But just don’t believe for a second that children under the age of 3 or 4 are being raised by their working parents, so much as their daycare provider. If that’s the choice you’ve made, then own it, but don’t deny the fact that someone else is doing the footwork. “Doing/Having it all” is some slogan our generation has adopted, and it may be possible, but it sure isn’t possible to do it all WELL. If work gets 8 hours a day children get 3, and husbands get 1, how exactly is family the priority?

Liz on

It’s all personal choice, to each their own. People who want kids should have kids and people who want to have jobs should have the jobs they love, and it’s okay to want and to have both. I honestly don’t think Mira meant any offense to anyone, I understand she DID offend people, but I think she was just defending herself amongst the Hollywood set- i.e. actors that have kids and barely see them.

Ash on

You said it wonderfully, Julia. I don’t understand the “strangers” argument either. If some of these parents are so adamantly against leaving their children in the care of other people then I guess they shouldn’t send their kids to school either, right? After all, if their children are spending 7-8 hours per day there, does that mean the teachers are raising them and not the parents? LOL

Sarah M. on

Thank you, Carli! I completely agree!! When people hear the word ‘nanny’, I think they automatically assume that means that the nanny is with the child/ren from sun-up to sun-down. That they get them up in the morning and put them down at night. That is actually usually not the case. I’m a nanny, and I work for 3 different families, 4 days a week. I’m not there for 10+ hour days 5 or 6 days a week. While I would like 1 family more days a week (rather than having to juggle 3 different ones), I’m NOT raising the kids. Mom and dad had them, they get up with them in the morning, put them down at night, stay home if the kids are sick, call or text to check and see how they are doing, send me funny/cute pictures (I also do the same when Im with the kids), can be reached at ANY time, for ANYTHING, ALWAYS take them to doctor appointments, etc. I am treated like a part of the family, not like the ‘hired help’. If you go to nanny websites, 3/4 of the profiles posted by the families are for 20 hours a week or less.

I recently got offered a position with a family that has 6 kids (aged 8, 5 year old twins and 1 year old triplets). I would’ve been 5 10 hour days and 1 4-6 hour day a week, none ending before 8 at night. I chose not to take it because I wasn’t willing to give up my social life for 2 to 3 years. THAT is when it’s more like the nanny raising the kids, not the typical nanny positions that you’d find!!

It’s quite annoying that ANY time the word ‘nanny’ is mentioned this debate ALWAYS happens. Nannies aren’t evil. We CHOOSE this line of work because we LOVE kids and are good with them. If you get a nanny that is just doing it for the paycheck, then the kids can suffer. But the majority of nannies are doing it because of their love for kids and not just for the paycheck.

Each parent needs to do what’s best for them. And that differs from 1 person/family to the next.

Off my soapbox! Sooner or later I’m going to stop reading the comments. They’re beyond ridiculous at this point, and have been for a while!

Ash on

Ellen, what about when your kids go to school? That’s where they’re going to spend most of their day so they’re not going to see you during that time anyway. You’re still only going to get a couple hours every week night of quality time with them whether you work or not so that argument doesn’t fly.

And like it or not, if your husband is the breadwinner then you ARE dependent on him. That might not sound politically correct to you, but it’s the truth. I can’t even tell you how many women I know who were stay at home moms, divorced their husbands (because they cheated on them with other women), and now they’re SOL because they don’t make their own money. They’re relying on alimony, child support, etc. to get by. Not smart. I want my children to learn that you don’t have to be dependent on a spouse for your security.

marina on

My mum and dad raise me not the teachers, even if I did went 8 hours a day to kinder, daycare and elementary school. I never resent my mother for that either, I was happy and it worked for us. For some other people may work different, for me was the best option and my family was the best option. Don’t judge other people.

Jen DC on

I’m a first time, short term (6 month gig) nanny for a friend. After this experience I can say this: Your nanny, if she’s worth his/her salt, will undoubtedly love your child. If s/he doesn’t fall in love with your child, you should get another nanny.

This kid loves me, but he absolutely, 100% knows when his parents are about to come home and looks for them at that time! And he is *10 months old*. So while I have a hand in raising him, we all recognize that I am not his parent nor do I supplant that position in any way, shape or form or even try to.

The other thing that I’ve learned here is that I am not cut out to be a SAHM. It’s just not in me. I love Chachi, I love watching him grow and learn and develop… but I would be much more fulfilled if I were doing something else and coming home to a baby. Of course this feeling is somewhat tempered by the fact that he’s not actually *my* kid, but I think if I decide to have them, I’d stay at home one year at the most, then go back out to help provide for the family I’d made and be a better mother because of it. (*I’d* be a better mother, not that all mothers need to go out and work to be good moms.)

I’m happy for Mira Sorvino that she’s made a fortune and can stay home. Perhaps she forwent kids at a younger age in order to do so. But most kids who aren’t exclusively reared by their parents don’t suffer; if they did, how much worse would society be?

ellen on

I specifically said children under the age of 3 or 4 because those are the key years in terms of development. School age children obviously need, and in fact, thrive on being away from their parents.

Furthermore, I know that I’m dependent on my husband. I said that. I think it’s a good thing. It would be ludicrous to teach my children that they should not be dependent on their spouses in case they run off and cheat. Call me a romantic…

I do have a college education, so just in case my husband is off boinking his secretary, my daughter and I will be just fine.

momofmany on

This is one of those silly, hopeless debates that will go nowhere because it’s a personal issue, with so many variables that go into each situation. I wish it would stop happening and that women would just be happy with what their family is doing and not feel the need to criticize another family for doing things differently. It’s true that men don’t do this as much, unless they are just thinking it in their heads? I’m a stay at home mom, I used to work in daycare, I have friends who are both at home with their kids and who work and use daycare for their children. They’re all lovely and our kids are all just fine.

bayoubaby on

mira, mira i think hers has a crack in it. of course she can stay home with her children she makes what it takes some of us to make in a year or more. besides how can understand how she feels mira is an a mature mom. she waited well into her late 30’s to have children. i myself had a child when i was 20 and my second at 35 how fast my second is growning up. what was important to her then is second to her children and lucky for her she has the money to be able and take in all those moments other moms for whatever reason miss out on

Rebi on

For anyone criticizing non-sahm moms…unless you are homeschooling your children and living without a television, then you are nothing but HYPOCRITES.

I love my kids. I love my job. I love having two incomes it allows us to live in a great neighborhood with great schools. No apologies. I grew up with a sahm – we lived in an unsafe neighborhood with horrible schools; my parents fought over money and were always stressed because of it – an unexpected medical bill or car problem there was always something; they did scrimp so we didn’t really take vacations or go to eat and as a result their happiness and relationship suffered. I CHOOSE to work. I love my life.

I feel so bad for those people who criticize working moms, your discontent is SO apparent. And I ask, are you telling your daughters that they have only two choices – go to college OR be a SAHM…because you can’t be a good mom who works…so, let me ask, why ever educate your daughters past high school then? So very, very sad. I will be teaching my daughters that they can be whatever they want and be a great mom, too.

Julia on

Isn’t it funny, Ash? I mean, it’s not as if I’m dropping them off on the side of the highway every morning and hoping that someone friendly comes along. ;)

I’m CHOOSING to involve a number of people in their lives who love them, teach them, help them. If that means that they’re being “raised” by lots of people INCLUDING (primarily and most importantly) me and my husband, well, all the better.

Mandy on

I agree with Ash in that I’d be afraid to completely leave the working world for the very realistic fear of never getting my foot back in the door once the kids are grown. Good luck with that! Remember, Mira has never had to deal with real life. She’s lead a wealthy, privileged life since birth so it’s no wonder she can’t relate to the rest of us who can’t afford to stay at home. Must be nice.

Jennifer on

Wow…these comments have gotten way off track. So I guess I’ll add to it. :)

Ash, sweetheart, it sounds like you need some counseling to deal with the resentment you have with your parents, being broke growing up, and beong poor now. There are free or cheap programs out there. We…and these comment boards…are not your shrink. You have bitterness from your childhood and your situation in present day…and have decided to rant about it. Not to mention, yopure whining about people and their elitist behavior…yet look at your judgemental comment after comment. Plus you say the secret is the women are on government assistance…that’s such a ridiculous and bitter comment. Go get a better job…tell your parents to leave…OR SHUT UP ABOUT HOW YOU HATE YOUR LIFE. Change it or stop whining. (This is where the counseling will help). Anyways, I know you’ll put up a stupid, judgemental comment because you’ve felt the need to fight within everyone commenting on your remarks…or THINKING people were commenting to you because ypur narcissistic…so I’ll let you win and won’t bother responding to you…cause it fuels you.

Anyways…Mira made a stupid comment and noe it’s fired people up because Mira thinks she’s better than people that have help. Oh well…it’s not people are banging on theater doors to see her movies.

katie on

I’m a nanny for three — have been with them for almost four years. Do they suffer with me? No way! I love my job and I love these kids SO much. Both parents work — they have to, so that’s where I come in. The kids know that I’m always there for them but they also know that their mom and dad ARE their mom and dad.

I love the kids I work for and the parents, too!

Shelby on

Wow, so stepping away as made her the mom guru? If you feel that your children do better without an additional caretaker than say so without insulting those who use them. I’ve found her nothing but extremely offensive lately. Maybe your kids would also appreciate not being plastered all over magazines? Maybe it’s time she “really” step away.

Anonymous on

I have good paying job and can afford a nanny and have take home. Isn’t quitting and then struggle, not be able to find a job when they are in school full time worse. SHame on Mira – good thing she does not make movies anymore. I would not go after reading this.

whatever on

After skimming these, my thought is “jeepers”.

Julia, are you taking more time away from your kids (while they are with all these loving people) to write such ridiculously long reponses. I have my PhD and SAH with my children. I feel confident that I will be able to find work when they begin school and will not regret the time I have spent with them. And no matter what you say, if you are not there 40-50 hours a week, then obviously “someone” else is raising them during that time. You can’t agrue your way out of that.

And Ash, you have much too much time on your hands and are very bitter. You might want to work on the bitterness about something you are not even currently dealing with BEFORE you have children. Yikes.

Erica on

I think people need to look at Mira’s comment in context. She is talking specifically about her peers (aka extremely well-paid actresses) who are in fact, making the CHOICE to have nannies play a significant part in their children’s rearing. I realize that incomes stretch more depending on what area of the country/world you live in but when you are making millions per film, then yes, it has become a choice to work b/c the necessity to work no longer exists. I admire Mira’s outlook because clearly she sees her children’s younger years as the precious time that it is, and would rather spend them being there for those milestones rather than hearing about them from a childcare provider.

As for moms who work b/c they have to work to pay the bills, I think that is an entirely different situation.

Diva on

WoW, that last comment by Ash is kind of harsh. Alimony and child support are there for a reason..and its not to make mom feel lazy or inadequate.

If the husband books it out of his marriage, he should be WILLING to pay child support for HIS kids to have the things they need and want!! The sole responsibilty of money AND kids should not automatically fall on mom! The child is 50 percent hers, not 100 percent hers!

Alimony should be temporary till mom gets on her feet after being home with no income for herself. But child support is a contstant and it very well should be!! I get child support and I am not ashamed. I didnt make that baby alone and his father has a responsibility to him, as do I. Its split 50/50 so it doesnt all fall on me and overwhelm me. Because I know if I got stressed out, my child would suffer. So sick of these too proud single moms who think they can do it all! YOU CANT! And even if you think you can, your child is going to suffer one way or another!

emilyc on

I have to agree with Mira here. I also agree with you ecl, it’s pretty sad that we live in a society where women feel such pressure to proove themselves in ‘a man’s world’. It’s also sad when people feel that they need stuff to be happy and put their families on the back burner in order to live a certain lifestyle. Let’s be real here, are school trips to Europe and being able to play four different organized sports really better for your childen than having time with family and learning about life with and through them? I know that some women really do have to work, such as single moms and I sympathise with them. But honestly nannies and day care providers ARE raising your kids just as much as you are! Sorry, but it`s the truth. Oh and BTW, I am a SAHM of two, and my husband makes less than 40K a year. We live comfortably,eat well, go on vacations and have invested in retirement and our kids education. I live in Canada, so maybe it`s different here,and I`m not trying to say that I`m better than you because of it, but I deffinitely know that it can be done. In response to those who say that kids eventually go off to school all day, it`s the early years of a childs life are the most important in tearms of development, so this is the time to nurture them. Some people even homeschool, because they want to be involved even further. Also, how dare anyone say that a having a college education is more important than raising children! Now that`s elitist if you ask me! It is a personal choice, whether to have kids and a career or to stay at home, I think the choice is obvious, but that`s JMO!

Feminist mom on

All of the women and men that fought so hard for equal rights for women would be absolutely horrified by the comments in this blog. Please for the sake of women’s rights (and for your daughters), stop tearing each other apart and judging one another for the choices that others have died to preserve.

Anonymous on

I think many more people can stay home but think they need the money to maintain their lifestyle. Cable is not a necessity. Two cars are not necessities….etc.

Shelley on

To Feminist Mom: Much love. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

mom of 3 on

Geez, how quick to take offense some of us are. I know how it feels on the flip side, to hear how staying at home is wasting my education or creating less socially-able children.As far as being able to afford to stay home with the kids, there are genuine cases wher eit is not possible, but in many, we could make adjustments to what we think we need, and get by with less income. My husband is in the military, it obviously doesn’t pay much at all, but we have madde it work by not living over our means. That means one car that we used every tax return to help pay off early, a house that is smaller and older than the ones his co-wrokers bought, but affordable even if he became diasabled. It means thrift store clothes, but you can find things with tags still on …it means changing our expectations, and like all moms, beating ourselves up that maybe this decision isn’t even going to turn out to be the right one (maybe kids would prefer designer clothes over family time, maybe they would be better adjusted in daycare, maybe I’d be a better mom if someone else took care of them for part of the day). We’re all just trying to figure out what the best thing for our own family is, and people need to be slower to feel like they are being attacked. I just want to make sure that people realize that choosing to stay home isn’t an elitist ideal; in my case it is the exact opposite- we could have a lot more if I went to work ( I could probably ear n more than him, but I’m better equipped to be the at home at this point), but I don’t think the trade off is worth it at this point.

Shelley on

Some of us do have to work, and it doesn’t have anything to do with luxury. My husband and I tried making it work on one income and found we couldn’t make ends meet. We were literally taking all the change we could find to the grocery store with us to try and see how far we could spread it before the paycheck at the end of the week. Now THAT is what is unfair to children. And that was our situation without cable, without a car payment (our cars were paid for before we had children), without any extras. With two children, the cost of living, health insurance, groceries, diapers etc. it simply was not possible. I got a job and I take pride in my work and that I am able to pay for the extracurricular activities my children want to do instead of not being able to do anything at all because we’re flat broke. Sorry, but not all of us can be married to an independently wealthy man.

mom of 3 on

As far as stepping out of the work force and then back in, there are ways to add things to your resume in these in between years besides paid work. As a teacher, I am able to do volunteer work that does not take me from my kids for significant amouts of time, and in fact includes them, and it can all go towards my work experience. You have to decide what is important to you, and if you think you are a better parent when you get some time away from your kids each day, that is fantastic and it is the right choice for you.
I believe your can be a working mother and be a good mother, but this is what I need to do. It would be intersting to see a study comparing feelings about working and motherhood between women that had working mothers and those that had SAHMS. My mom worked and had a hard time connecting to us ( not bc the work, I don’t think), but it has made me particularly want to spend as much of the early years as possible with my kids.

mom of 3 on

Thank you Jessica C. I’m never going to say that someone is less of a parent because they choose to work outside of the home, but for me personally, it is that I feel this responsibility, they are mine, and I want to be the one caring for them- I didn’t have them not to be the one providing their care. I do not say that to be judegemental to anyone else, it is just my personal parenting feelings.
At the same, I think it is often more possible to stay home than many realize. Of course there are absolutely impossible cases, but adjusting our mindsets abotu what we think we have to have to get by can make things more possible. We started off very young too (18), and we found a way to make it work. I worked until we had kids, got my degree, and my husband joined the military and got his degree. It has meant a lot of work and not a lot of free time, but that doesn’t mean not a lot of fun and joy. My kids have everything they NEED without us getting any assistance from the government or anyone else- again they are ours, we made them, we wanted them, and we are 100% responsible for providing their care. It just means we aren’t keeping up with the Joneses…not that my little children mind at all.

mom of 3 on

Ash, there are ways to make sure that your children have experiences without having lots of money. Many great programs have affordable fmaily discounts (Children’s museum year passes), parks and recreations programs provide very affordable classes, and I even know some families that trade things, like music lessons for horseback riding lessons. WE live on one income, and we manage to find ways for our kids to have plenty of experiences, and they are even more enjoyable, in my opinion, because I am the one that gets to be there with them, easing them into the world. I totally understand what you mean, having come from a “broke” family, but I just want to help you realize that there are creative ways to provide your children with those things you want for them :o)

Melissa on

My worst day at home with my children is always better than the very best day I ever had while I was working. Yes, we budget. Yes, one of our cars is old enough to vote and serve in the U.S. Army, but it runs great. We won’t replace it yet because it feels great to not have had a car payment since 2000. We live within our means, and we live well. We spend time together, and I will never regret putting my career on hold for them. My children will never hear from me “Sorry baby, I can’t. Mommy has to work,” or “Oh, honey, I’m just so tired after a long day at work.” They will watch me reassemble my career slowly as they grow up and are in high school and getting ready to leave for college.

I am so thankful to have married an amazing, hard-working man who values my role as wife and mother. He told his working-mom sister one time who swore they could never do it on one income (even though they have a much nicer lifestyle than they need) “Well, if ever we need two incomes, then I will get a second job. My wife works full-time at home, and my children’s mother can’t be replaced. I, however, can work an extra shift until I can find a better job.” Ironically, a man with that kind of work ethic and ambition seems to make things work just fine without resorting to adding an extra job.

You can’t possibly believe that when you devote at least half of their waking hours (usually more) to a job that you are the main person raising your children. The math just doesn’t work – no matter how fancy your career may be. I chose to have my children and have devoted myself to being there for them full time. I could never consider putting them aside while I was busy doing something else. With my last breath, nobody will give a damn what my career was, but my family will know they were loved above everything else. That is what matters.

sgv on

Mira is talking about how SHE feels, and I agree 100% with her. I am a stay at home mom and i love it, I can’t imagine leaving my daughters at daycare or with a nanny….I worked since I was 18 years old, and we decided to have a child when we knew we could live with only my husband’s salary, otherwise I would have waited more years to save more money, because my idea of having children is to raise them MYSELF. With my second child I asked my husband if we could continue living with only one income, and when he told me yes then we decided to have the second daughter, otherwise I would have stay with one child.
My sister had to work because her husband lost his job (then he became a taxi driver so he coulnd’t stay at home with the kids either) and it was so sad to see that when she arrived everyday from work, her son prefered to be with his nanny instead of her…because he was a baby and was ALL day with “another mom”…Sometimes she arrived late from work and find her sons already asleep…Well, I don’ want that for my daughters, at least the first years of their lives. When they will start going to school then I will get a part time job, so I can pick them up from school and bring them home with me.
But this is MY opinion, for MY family, same as Mira.

Melissa on

One clarification to my comment – my husband’s sister is a very loving mother. I would never say she or any working mother is not. However, I wish her child had more time with her to know just how wonderful she really is. It makes me sad to know how much time they spend apart, and I often wonder if either of them will regret it when that precious time just isn’t there anymore. She and I see this issue from completely different perspectives, but we still treat each other with love and respect. Also, we don’t waste our time trying to convince each other that our way is the right way, and we don’t ever put each other down for having a different opinion. That is quite different from many of the comments that I have read here tonight, and I am so thankful that we can do that even when our visions differ so greatly.

Iloveperfectparents on

Not trying to be mean but Ash why are you even commenting on this subject if A)You yourself do not have a job and B)You don’t even have children? Let’s get this straight, you are hypothetically speaking what you would do if you had kids? Yeah it may be harder for a SAHM to go back in the work force but apparently they aren’t hiring people without kids either; so I think it’s fair to say that it’s hard for some to get out in the work field either way it goes.

Iloveperfectparents on

Oh and may I add, that you yourself were raised by a SAHM & choose to be a working mom in the future; therefore just because a parent chooses to use their degree & work, or stay at home, doesn’t guarantee that their child will do the same.
_________________________
I can’t believe that there are SAHM and WM that can put others down for THEIR choices of what works for them in THEIR household, when you BOTH are clearly making sacrifices. WM sacrifice time they could be spending with their child(ren) if they stayed at home & SAHM are sacrificing an additional income that could be spent on their child(ren) if they worked.

There is no right are wrong in situations that WORK for YOUR family. How could staying at home be wrong if that is what works for YOUR family & how could going to work be wrong if that is what works for YOUR family? No matter what your choice is, if you are a mom who tries her best and your children are happy, should anything else matter?

Kudos to moms that SAH and kudos to moms that work.

Anonymous on

I totally understand people wanting to raise their own kids…you SHOULD want to raise your own kids. But not wanting a nanny to raise them and saying that they “suffer when you leave them with someone else” is a bit much. Perhaps the mother suffers more…as I am a nanny and I can guarantee that the kids I take care of are not suffering…

Hea on

I really can’t say that any of the kids at the daycare where I work suffer. They are happy and content kids! Their parents are very happy and pleased with their kids progress, development and the way we interact with them.

Tara on

Honestly, children are better off when they can have a parent home with them – especially prior to going off to school. I don’t understand women who think that they can have it all – you can’t, something will get your less than full attention as there are only so many hours during the day.

I leave my child with family when my Husband and I want to go out and do something – I would NEVER put them in daycare, with a nanny or with some random babysitter. I also would never have made the decision to have children if I had to work at all. I think doing so is selfish – if either you or your partner can’t afford to take off for the first 5 years of a child’s life than perhaps some thing should be reevaluated – anyone with a spouse/partner could do it if they either didn’t have the “do-it-all syndrome” or live so far above their means.

My child will be better off because I spend time with them and don’t leave them so mommy can go off and have a “career” – You make the decision to have a child you should also be committed to taking care of them and not leaving them in daycare.

Sharon on

Well Said Julie, I have just gone back to work after 7 years home with my kids my oldest is 8 and my youngest is 4. I felt soooo guilty because i am working 5 days a week, 5 hours a day. I get to drop my kids off at school and someone who loves them dearly (grandparents) pick them up 5 days a week. My husband works away and gets 1 week off a month (so i am a single mum most of the time) so the week he has off he picks them up from school and kindy and spends time with the kids. But your comments on getting them dressed in the morning and reading, bathing, homework and putting them to bed every night made me smile, because even thou i am away durning the day we all look forward to the afternoon when i am home and can do these things with them.

Julia on

Geez, whatever, did I strike a nerve? Good for you on the PhD, good for you that you’re happy with the choices you’ve made for your family. I’m not the one who suggested that you’d have trouble getting back into the workforce later on. I hope you’re able to, because we all benefit when opportunities are available to women. Rock on, girl.

Assuming you’re genuinely curious, first post was at the end of the workday while I was stuck at my desk waiting for a call before I could wrap up for the day (kiddos were home playing in the yard with daddy at that point, which I assume qualifies as being raised by a PARENT, right?). Second one was just after 10:30 last night, post-dinner, baths, bedtimes. Little ones were tucked into their beds, fast asleep. I assure you no children suffered in the making of my posts. ;)

I said before and I’ll say again, lots of other people(including their father) are involved in caring for my children while I’m at work during the week. I’m perfectly content that that’s the right choice for our family, and that my children aren’t suffering for it. In fact, I think there’s an awful lot of good in the life we’re giving them.

MW on

I went to daycare while my parents worked. This was in the 80’s, when most kids didn’t enter school until kindergarten. Unlike a lot of kids today,who are often put in a couple of days a week for the social aspect,if you had a stay-at-home mom, you didn’t go to daycare.

I’ll tell you this, when I entered 1st grade, I was FAR ahead of other kids that HADN’T had early schooling. I could tell time, do small math problems and I was one of the best readers in the class. I was also more social and verbal than kids that had never been in a classroom environment.

I credit this to a combined effort between the daycare AND my parents. The school laid a foundation by teaching in a way that was fun and interesting,then sending home worksheets to be completed. My parents sat with me each night and completed the worksheets, then took it a step further by making up their own learning activities, using the methods that I had responded to at daycare. Most school districts have figured out that starting kids on the path to learning at a younger age is beneficial, hence the rise of Pre-K classes.

Everyone is entitled to make their own choices when it comes to parenting, but please don’t assume those of us that were in daycare suffered in any way. I feel grateful for what I learned, the friends I made and the trips I got to go on. I have many great memories of those early years of my life.

Hea on

I forget sometimes how these things differs between countries. I’m thankful for the Swedish system and I’m thankful for my job. :-)

Trax on

I actually value these discussions because they help me clarify my values. On the one hand we have Naomi Watts saying she hates the struggle between wanting to fulfil herself and wanting to be there for her kids … and then on the other hand Mira Sorvino says what I think a lot of us feel, which is that she is going to prioritise her kids’ needs ahead of her own.

Neither woman is right. But seriously, if Mira Sorvino can afford to stay at home, so can any A or B list actress. It’s us working mothers who take on a mortgage because it seems more stable than renting that I feel sorry for. I wouldn’t choose to work if it wasn’t for that mortgage, yet I constantly second guess whether I’ve made the right decision for my son …

Trax on

PS oh and I think it’s sweet that Mira is so attached to her daughter. I need and adore my son much more than he needs and adores me!!! :)

Trax on

Another PS, a missing part of this equation is the fact that the child’s developmental needs must be considered. One of the things that I have learned the hard way is that mothers need to understand the normal path of a child’s development more. My 3 year old needs other kids around him now, so putting him in daycare for 2 half-days a week is much less a big deal than it was when he was 1 and consolidating his attachment to me – I really regret the 1 day a week he spent in day care then, as he absolutely hated it. If we have another child, they won’t be in any kind of care until they’re 3, when it’s more developmentally appropriate for them. It’s one of those things though that I would never have gotten until I’d lived through it.

Anon on

Taylor, thank you for bringing out the point that some mothers work not just because they have to, but because they WANT to. My mum is a doctor, and we had a nanny 3 1/2 days a week before we started school and then my mum went full time again, so our nanny was there to pick us up from school duinrg the week and stayed with us until my mum came home an hour or so later. I resent the fact that people on this blog suggest that doing that makes you a substandard or selfish parent. My mum was born to be a mother, but also to be a doctor, and she is absolutely the best mother that anyone could possibly ask for, I had a fantastically happy and full childhood, and today my parents and I are still incredibly close.
I was not raised by anyone but my mum and dad – my nanny was wonderful and she remains like family to us, but despite caring for me and having fun with me she did not bring me up – there is an enormous differnce between that and being a parent.
I have nothing but respect and admiration for my mum for everything that she has done for our family. I fully intend to be a working mother and am currently working for my medical degree. It is possible to do both things and get the balance right.

Hallie on

I do want to emphasize — while I think that if at all possible, one parent should stay home with the kids, it DOES NOT just have to be mom! Mothers, you DON’T have to give up your careers. Dads can stay home too!

I feel it’s very, very important that kids are with at least one parent especially in the early years. That doesn’t mean that they don’t meet other kids — there are playgroups and playdates, activities at libraries and museums, etc. Just my opinion :)

J on

Explain to me how children suffer by being around people other than just family? Has she ever thought about when her kids go to school? They will be with someone else while they’re there unless she homeschools them. I can’t believe someone had the nerve to ask why have kids if you let someone else watch them! I think Mira’s comment was ignorant,but the comments others are leaving are worse.

Chris on

Having a SHAM may not be an ideal, a option or even a desire for some families.

Adrienne on

The best advice I’ve ever read ( and I do believe it was on this site somewhere ) was if you give your children 100% you will end up resentful. If all the stay at home mom’s on here say that they don’t get resentful sometimes that they can’t ever do anything alone, and sometimes can’t afford to eat because they chose to stay at home is ludicrous. To give all of yourself to someone, even if it is your children, creates this super unhealthy codependency both for mother and for the child. You lose yourself, your identity, your sense of aliveness. You become a mom. Nothing more. Nobody wants to be an anything all of the time and stay at home moms don’t get a break. Because taking a break would mean leaving your children with someone else. Vicious cycle. Working moms are probably mentally a lot more sane. Us stay at home’s are martyrs. Nobody likes a martyr. It’s a choice, just like abortion, that has consequences either way.

Sophia on

There is no formula for perfect family life. Every comment on this post, however brash or condescending, is valid because it is how that person feels about this topic. I definitely think a little less bashing could be happening here, and a lot of women could benefit from having more open minds and more accepting stances. No mother is perfect, but the thing to remember is that each is trying her hardest to give her children the best she can give them, whether that be by staying at home with them or whether that be returning to work and leaving them in the capable hands of someone who loves and cares about them. Not everyone can afford to be a stay-at-home mum, and not everyone can bear to leave their babies in someone else’s care, but every mother should be respected for the choices she makes about her children and their upbringing, or, if this is the case, the circumstances that make one of those two the only option. I think children can and do benefit from either situation, and I definitely don’t think the child is going to suffer in the care of someone other than the mother. I have been a babysitter since I was 13 (I am now nearly 18), and looked after about fifty children all up, and with every job I’ve had I’ve cared for the children lovingly and in a way that I hope has made them feel safe and comfortable. The more regular jobs have allowed me to form beautiful, loving relationships with the children, which, and correct me if I’m wrong, is something parents love to see: other people loving their wonderful children.
All I’m really saying is that a mother should be able to make the choice to stay at home with her children OR return to work, and not have to deal with anyone’s judgements or criticism. Because every mother is a beautiful and amazing woman simply because of the strength of the love she has for her children, and the fact that she is doing everything in her power to provide them with a childhood that is rich with happiness and love and opportunities.

Carol on

It’s just a personal decision. There is no right or wrong. Each family has to do what they feel is right.

I’ve done both-SAHM and WOHM. Currently, because of circumstances beyond our control, I work outside them home as does my hubby. Oldest son is almost 9 and in school so he goes to before school care for like 20 minutes and after school care for 1 1/2 hours. My youngest is 3 and is there all day. They both love it. We had to do what was best for our family. And that’s what I believe each family has to do. I think we should all just support each other in our decisions-whether that be working or staying at home.

Amanda Johnson on

My mom stayed at home and I am thankful for it. That said, our family could do it. Not all can. I don’t think that penny pinching enables all women to stay home. I’m sure many women here wish it was that easy.

As for me, I don’t have children but it is my most profound hope that one day I shall be. I hope by then there will be more compassion on both sides.

ANJ

Myview on

Mira opinion is influenced by her childhood experience,(she did not see her father much growing up) her being an older mother to young children,(will be menopausal when kids begin elementary school). Mira is trying to have it all in a very short span, she is afraid of the future. She does not mean to offend, does not realize she has, and I hope she does have a meaningful marriage and family life. I hope she is truly loving her children and not raising them in a reclusive way.

Chrissy on

Hallie, save $26,000 a year on a sitter and not work? Hmmm, I’m a single mom and pulled in over 100K this year. Your comment makes NO sense. Sorry!

Hallie on

Chrissy, I did mention above that my “one parent should stay home” opinion didn’t apply to single parents. I respect you for your work & your ability to provide for your family!

What I meant was in families with two parents, one should stay home (mom OR dad) — why shell out $26,000 or more (I was on the low end of what nannies are paid, some get up to $100,000/year depending on where you live) to have both parents away from the kids for long hours? Why not save that money an allow one parent to stay home?

dfs on

Chrissy, the average income is WAY less than what you make, and you know it. So quit bragging and realize that to most parents, $26,000 a year is a very large dent in their income.

Hallie on

Also, my comments really only apply until the children are of school age. From birth to age 5-6 are when it’s most crucial developmentally to have parent-child bonding. Of COURSE children will go to school and be away from their parents — that’s good! Of course it’s good to have time away from your children. I just firmly believe that during the formative years, one parent should be home with the children.

Jenn on

I knew this post was gonna elicit a lot of response! All I want to post is that I agree that if you can do what Mira has done and try not to leave your kids with other people, it is ideal. I also agree that you do not have to be rich to have this opportunity. My Dad was a construction worker and my Mom was a teacher. We were a lower to middle class income family. One of them was always home when I was. I can count on one hand the times I ever had a babysitter. One of them or both were always at my events. I was always dropped off and picked up from school and activities by one of them. One or both was always at home when I was sick or when I had the summers off (made easier by the fact that my Mom was a teacher). So it can be done, no matter your income, I really believe that, and I plan to do the same with my children. I agree with what she says. If you can do it, it is absolutely the best thing for your kids. (But I also will say that I have no frame of reference as to what it would be like to do this as a single parent, and totally agree that that would be significantly harder. Sometimes people have to leave their children with others so that they can provide for them. That does not mean that you cannot raise healthy, loving children with others helping to take care of them and shape their lives, I’m sure).

dfs on

“I don’t think that penny pinching enables all women to stay home.”

Why is it always a question with you guys of whether or not the WOMAN should stay home? It should be a question of whether or not one of the PARENTS should stay home.

Alisa on

I wish my husband and I could “make it work.” Our budget is strapped as thin as possible and I HAVE to work.

Laurie on

I also think it’s great if she can make it work, but I take offense to her saying children suffer if they aren’t with their parents. I have been a career nanny for over 18 years and while there have been families I’ve worked for that seem to have the attitude that it’s okay to be less involved with their kids, I also have worked and work for families that can’t wait to be home with their kids. They would stay home if they could but can’t. I do my very best to keep the parents involved everyday and when they are around, I step out of the picture. I have yet to see negative effects on the children on this type of situation. Like I said, unfortunately there are situations where the nanny truly is left to raise the kids & the parents just seem to get the footnotes of the day, which is sad.

Dr. Laura often speaks the same garbage. She seems to spew the fact that if you aren’t able to stay home with your kids, then you don’t care or love your children. Completely ignorant.

Alice on

Julia – that first post was awesome!! Your others too by the way. Everyone in your life has been a stranger at some point, too.

Mostly, many parents who use the “raised by srangers” argument are actually the ones who suffer when the kids are away, not the children. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be with your kids all the time and feeling awful when they are not there, but that’s about *you*, not them. Stop pretending that children *suffer* away from their parents and that people who don’t have a heart attack not seeing their kids for a few hours are bad parents or don’t really want or love their children.
Spending the day with a lovely fun person that cares for you too is not a horrible thing from a child’s perspective ;)

I understand Mira’s desire to stay with her kids, not her completely ignorant generalizing comment about children suffering. It’s comforting to believe that you’re the only one in the world they’re happy with but sorry, no.

Taylor on

At the end of the day, if you’re comfortable with the choice you make, it doesn’t matter what strangers on a random website think to know is right.

As an orthopedic surgeon, I obviously work outside of the home but am also a mother to three children. They are the priority but I’m not ashamed to say that my job is quite fulfilling because I love helping people. My children have not suffered because of my career and I feel that being able to work has made me a more well-rounded individual and mother.

Instead of berating other mothers because of the choices they’ve made regarding parenting, some of you need to realize that what works for one does not work for all. Whether you work or stay at home is not a measure of what kind of mother you are or who loves their children more.

Luna on

As someone who has been both a working and a stay at home mother, let me give my opinion. When I had my first, it was right before summer. I took my maternity leave and then, because I was a teacher, had three additional months off. I went back to work the following year and left my son with an alternating system of both sets of grandparents, aunts, and uncles. When my twin daughters were born three years later, my oldest was in preschool some of the time. I decided to stay home with the girls, because watching infant twins and a three-year-old is a little much to ask of anyone, and go back to work when they were three. I had my fourth child, my youngest daughter, i still intended to go back to work when she was three. I had my fifth child, my youngest son, seven and a half months ago. I’m going to be a stay-at-home mom until he is in school full time because I’ve discovered that I really love to be home with my children. I love taking them to museums, play dates, music lessons, sports, teaching them about the world around them, and seeing the blossom. However, I do miss working out the house (I work at home for some additional income, but it’s minimal work so it can be done when the baby is down for a nap). I was raised by a stay at home mom and I loved it. She was always there when I needed her and there was always hot dinner or clean sheets or fresh baked cookies. My sister in law works and leaves her children with her parents every other day and with my parents the days in between. Her kids love her, but they love getting to spend time with Nanna and Grampy and Mommom and Poppop. The goal should not be being the best mother in the eyes of the public, but doing what’s best for you, your kids, and your family. I’ve found balance because of my hard working and extremely loving husband. If it weren’t for how hard he works, we wouldn’t be able to live like we do. But we can, so I see no problem.

Stella Bella on

With my last breath, nobody will give a damn what my career was, but my family will know they were loved above everything else. That is what matters.

– Melissa on May 15th, 2010

Melissa, I couldn’t agree with this statement more. Thank you!

Erin on

So do all of the parents who believe you should stay home with your kids also plan on home schooling when they get older? You do realize that then they will be out of the home most of the day and even longer if they want to go to a friends house after school or play sports. Then you are basically letting their teachers “raise” them. After all they are in school for 13 year which is longer than you are home with them if you stay home until they enter first grade. Just some food for though.

My husband and I both work. It allows us to save aggressively for retirement and our son’s college education. Yes, we could scrape by and survive if I were to stay home, but it would mean no savings and a lot less of retirement. We have watched my in-laws move in with my sister in law and not be able to support themselves. That is a burden we do not want to put onto out son.

Anders on

For crying out loud, will everyone stop arguing with one another. Mira was clearly talking about people in her own situation who have the money to stay home with their children. Not once did she mention daycare; she mentioned nannies who are often employed by people with higher incomes. It’s pretty obvious she was referring to the new trend of celebrities popping out kids and handing them off to nannies for the majority of their time. Nothing wrong with making that choice, but it wasn’t what she wanted for her family. There’s no need to get up in arms about her words.

And this whole SAHM versus WM battle needs to end. It’s completely ridiculous that a bunch of grown women are bickering online about who insulted who’s choices first when it seems none of you know one another in actual life and, therefore, have no true understanding on why you all made the choices you did. You all made decisions that were right for your families and no one has the right to tell you otherwise, just like you have no right to tell other people their choice wasn’t as good as your own.

jessicad on

If I had a job that nobody gave a damn about or would remember I wouldn’t work either, but I love my job and I know I make a difference some days. I like to think my patients remember me and I’m showing my daughter how to have both worlds and be a strong woman and great mother. I’m glad I have a choice and I don’t HAVE to be at home like my Grandmother did and I realize that we are all different and what works for you may not work for another family.

She could’ve chosen a better word than “suffer”, that was just a dumb thing to say.

Janet on

I think Mira is just talking from her point of view–she lives around the rich, celeb world and has probably seen her share of nannies and parents who aren’t attentative to their kids as they have to be. She simply doesn’t want to be like them. I DO NOT agree w/ the idea that kids “suffer” with a sitter. I myself was a baby sitter, daycare, before & afterschool extended day program kid and I think I’m doing fine. I’m a 2nd grade teacher, I love my family, and I hope to have a child one day. Mira–Mira at yourself. Whatever floats your boat.

JMO on

wow as soon as I read the headline I knew this would be a blown up topic.

First let me start off witha quote “Calm down people. You all need to read her comments again. She is only talking about HER feelings about HER children.
She is not saying anything negative about others and their choices. ”

Acutally Mira said YOUR children suffer. I think some can imply that she’s speaking for all children. If she said I’d feel like my children will suffer then it’s a different story.

That being said, I can speak from the nanny point of view. I raised a little girl who is 5 now and almost ready for kindergarden (and my job soon will be done). Her mother and father work full time. I treat her like a daughter. I love her, cuddle her, take her places, teach her things,etc. Basically I fill in the “mom” role when her real mom isn’t around. But you know what she said the other day, She hugged me and told me how lucky she is to have two mom’s in her life. She said I have my real mommy and you!! It broke my heart. So kids DO NOT suffer!! Kids suffer only if you are irresponsible and leave them with other people who do not treat them or love them like they are their own! Most nannies or sitters will do everything they can to help fulfill the role of the parent as much as possible. Most kids grow up with an understanding of mommy and daddy have to work in order to give you things you want but that doesn’t mean they don’t love or miss you. I do not think the little girl I care for has suffered in any way. She’s a happy healthy well adjustted beautifully smart little person. And she got that way from all the people in her life who loved her. And someday when I have a child (although I hope to atleast be home for the first year if I’m lucky enough) I hope I can find people to be in their lives who treat them just like their own.

Some people shouldn’t forget that some parents have intentions on staying home with their kids then sometimes things happen like I don’t know hard economic times that make people have to go out and find work if it means putting food on the table for their kids. In this day in age we shouldn’t be criticizing anyone’s choices. If a mom or dad is lucky enough and financially stable enough to stay home I think that’s great. There is no better person to raise a child then the parent. However if your not able to then I hope your fortunate enough to find a caretaker who will do just of good of a job. No working parent should be made to feel like they shouldn’t have had their kids. Because if that’s the case many of us would not be here. But we shouldn’t criticize those that choose to remain home either. Do what is right for you and yours. But keep the snide remarks to yourself.

I’d say to Mira that I’m happy she can choose to not work. And some day she will have to stop smothering her children. But one thing she should learn to do is choose her words carefully before she offends other people.

klm on

Just saying your kids are your number one priority does not make it so. I can say that being in shape is my number one priority, but if I only exercise twice a month, is it really?

If you don’t spend as much time with your kids as you possibly can, CHOOSING your career over raising them, they are not your number one priority. See the definition of the word ‘priority’.

electra on

Theres this concept that know one else should have any part of handling the child aside from the mother and father. That just seems highly impractical to me, and sort of unhealthy. Children benefit from being with other people. I wonder if Mira would have the same opinion about a child staying with a grandparent while the parents work? Nannies can really become a part of the family! I found her comment to be quite condescending. I personally suscribe to “it takes a village to raise a child” so while when I have children I will be their rock and center, I see nothing wrong with having a nanny that will care and love them while I’m at work.

Dani on

Wow, judgemental much? Why is it so hard for some women to accept that staying home is not an option for everyone? Do you really need to have your choices valiadated by having other human beings feel bad about theirs?

This is directed both to Mira Sorvino (must be nice to not have the financial worries of the average person and pass judgement from your high horse) and to the other moms on here who say that you can make it work, if you sacrifice. I don’t judge moms who stay home, why are you judging moms who work?

Mandy on

There should be a word count limit on these comments. Some of you are writing mini novels.

Lisa on

Birth to age 3 is the most crucial time of a childs development. If left in the hands of nanny or day care center that does not give the child the attention it needs, the child will suffer. Unfortunately, both parents have to work in many cases. I work days and my husband works nights. He quit his day job and sacrificed his career so that one of us could be home with the kids full time. For us, paying for childcare wasnt worth it. One of us would be working just to pay the nanny, daycare.
Mira has an ideal situation that many of us cannot afford to have.
I doubt she meant to pass judgement on those who use nannies or daycare. It just that in her privileged world, it is easy for her to not understand what the rest of America goes through.

Jen on

Children benefit from attachment in whatever form it takes. The more people they love and who love them, the healthier they will become emotionally. Ask any expert who works in attachment. Children do not “suffer” simply because they are cared for part time by alternative caretakers.

It isn’t possible for anyone to do it, no matter how much they sacrifice. It’s extremely elitist to say otherwise.

The idea that a parent (most specifically a mother) should stay home with her children or not have them at all, is a very old-fashioned idea that flies in the face of everything that women and feminisits have fought for.

Alice on

I see nothing wrong with *choosing* to have a career over staying at home. I would possibly wait for a few years if I *could* but that’s it.

The crucial years you are talking about are few in a lifetime. For parents they are precious but in the big picture truth is it won’t make much of a difference to your children the exact hour count you’ve spent with them when they were 2. They’ll be glad they had you here every second and did everything with you, or they’ll be glad to go on school trips to Europe or simply to see you happy and fulfilled (for the parents who love their jobs too).

There are positive aspects of both and none outshines the other. It’s personal if you can stay at home (and I don’t mean just financially but also emotionally – if you’re willing to give up this part of yourself) or not. The kids, they just want love and attention, from you or anyone else.

Jen on

So many “experts” on childrearing!

I find it interesting that most of the people on this thread that are being judgemental and critical of other people’s parenting are the SAHMs.

Make your choice and be proud of it, but don’t presume to tell other mothers and other families how to raise their children and what is best for those children. Unless you’ve got a PhD in Child Psychology, you only know what’s best for YOUR family.

Btw, how many of you SAHMs had natural,non-medicated births, breastfed past two years (with no formula), feed your children only organic foods, don’t let them watch tv, and practice extended rearfacing seating in the car? No? Then you aren’t doing what’s best for your children and you shouldn’t have had them.

shelly on

Both of my parents worked while I was growing up. I don’t really remember much from before starting school, but I stayed at a family friends house with a few other kids, one of which became a lifelong friend. When I started school my dad got home just before I did, and my mom (a teacher) was home maybe an hour or so later. I turned out just fine.

Shaya on

I really think her comments were taken out of context. She was talking about balancing her acting career and motherhood. Some actors have said they have to leave their kids for weeks or even months at a time. Especially when their kids are in school and they don’t want to disrupt their schedule. While they probably get to see them occasionally during that time, for the most part they’re away working in locations far from home or places not suitable for children. Mira simply seemed to be saying she doesn’t want to go away on an acting job without her kids and have them raised by nannies.

Kira on

hmmm…..I wonder how much time dad spends with the kids…in all the various situations SAHM and WOHM…(this does not include single moms, ALTHOUGH, some do have very involved fathers in the children’s lives.) It is important to have BOTH parents in a child’s life equally, I think. While this is obviously not an option for some…just like the staying at home vs. working. I think it is a subject that is not addressed. My husband actually brought this to my attention (we were reading this together :) ) He said “Gosh, we talk so much about mom being home or working, WHAT ABOUT DAD?! Dads like to spend time with their kids too, but SOMEONE has to work. If Dad is working extra shifts and busting his tail trying to support the family, then he does not get to see the kids HE equally created. If mom is out of the house working and Dad is staying home, then SHE does not get to be with the children she wanted and gave birth to, having children is a sacrifice for EVERYONE involved, there has to be a balance, it is not about giving up anything or HAVING IT ALL, it is about balancing it all.” I totally agree with my husband on this one. It IS about balance. I know some SAHMs who are counting down the MINUTES to naptime, just to get a break or SAHMs who are NOT that involved, just let the child/children play in the playroom or watch TV all day. They are not teaching the child or bonding with the child at all, they are just someone in the house to make sure they don’t starve or die. BUT I know SAHMs who REALLY truly spend time with the children,teach them, have a schedule, go on little outings with the kids…that is if they have not sacrificed having two cars to be able to stay at home. I know WOHM who get home and REALLY parent their children, cook dinner, teach them, bond with them, are there to cook breakfastin the morning, all that. But then I know WOHMs who get home from work and ZONE OUT because they are exhausted and could not be bothered with children. We are expecting our first child this summer. I am an RN so I am lucky enough to be able to organize my shifts in such a way so that I am EQUALLY home with my child and able to work to help my husband. My husband is in the military and works a job that is MUCH like a school teacher’s hours so he can be home with our daughter too and is able to parent her. We NEVER count ourselves as part of the “REAL WORLD” though, we make MUCH less money then most folks, BUT we don’t have to pay for health care, We get a housing allowance, food allowance, my husband can not be laid off, ect. You don’t have those luxuries in the real world. A LOT of military wives are SAHMs, just because you CAN live on just your husbands income if you budget it out right, but let’s be honest….

You are NOT having to pay what some people have to pay…I know a lot of military families who don’t even KNOW the cost of healthcare without insurance.

Robyn on

If you can afford nannies, you can afford to stay home.

Candace on

i can’t believe people are attacking Mira for saying she doesn’t want her kids raised by nannies. Do you people hear yourself? Are you serious??! Heaven forbid a woman who has the means to afford to have other people raise her children actually say she would rather do it herself. She is not attacking the working mom. She is not telling everyone what they should or should not do. She is saying what her choice is. She gets something out of motherhood. Some of you are reacting like that is a disease. You who are reacting to her comment like it is a personal insult need to get yourselves in check.

Michelle on

Wow..I’ve just lost all respect for Mira Sorvino as a person..

it's too dangerous to SAH on

Last year my husband cheated on me after a long marriage, so I filed for divorce. My kids were 4 years old and 5 months. I was a SAHM at the time. I had no house, no car, no health insurance, and oodles of his business debt.

Thanks HEAVENS I had spent some time in the workforce, even after the birth of my first child (20+ hours/week), so I am in a better position to find employment now. Do I want to work while I have young kids? No. But the amount of alimony and child support I get is pitiful, comes late, etc.

I practice a religion that encourages moms to stay home, and while I think that’s the IDEAL, after my “religious” husband decided to go off the deep end and leave me, it’s now clear to me: women of any faith CANNOT be reliant on their husbands for money. They have GOT to be able to earn their own.

I never thought this would happen to a person like me, but it did…and if/when this happens to any of my friends of the same religion who graduated college and never worked, they are gonna be SOL BIG TIME. Totally screwed. Or forced to remarry for money and not love.

sugarhoney on

I agree with Mira,and I think most of you missed what she was saying.She is saying that prior to having children she spent most of her time away and living in hotels.She is saying that as a parent that is not the lifestyle she wants and she is opting to raise her children herself.As appose to working all the time and leaving her children to be raised by nannies.That is very admirable,and it is her choice.I admire working moms and stay at home moms as each represents a choice.I chose to put my great career and my dream of owning a house with a white pickett fence on hold to stay home and raise my children myself.Showing up at the end of the night to tuck our kids into bed was not for us.Having my mom or nannies raise them was not for us.That was a choice,I do not feel guilty for that choice.

Anonymous on

“Btw, how many of you SAHMs had natural,non-medicated births, breastfed past two years (with no formula), feed your children only organic foods, don’t let them watch tv, and practice extended rearfacing seating in the car? No? Then you aren’t doing what’s best for your children and you shouldn’t have had them.

– Jen on May 15th, 2010″

Okay, I just have to say that, yes, I do/ did all these things. With all four of my children. I also home school, and my kids participate in many activities (sports, music, art, camps), and have many friends. We are not financially well off by ANY means, but we do have a clear set of priorities. I also happen to have a Ph.D., and could work 24/7 if I allowed myself to. I get regular offers to work (that I turn down), and I love my field. If I hadn’t had children, I know that I would have had a very fulfilling career and life. But I choose to spend my time and energy with my children, because I find that more fulfilling than work. I, personally, identify with Mira Sorvino’s feeling of wanting to be with her kids all the time. It’s not for everybody. So, big deal. Why be upset by someone because they like spending all day with their own children?

Of course, it’s a different situation if someone cannot afford to stay home. But that’s just not what Mira is talking about. She’s talking about a situation in which a parent has a real choice. And yes, in part, we define what our choices are. It’s up to each person or couple to decide for themselves what their priorities are, and what the different possibilities are for meeting those priorities.

BTW, maybe it’s the case that Mira’s children do “suffer” when they are with a sitter. That is, maybe they really, truly miss her. What’s so terrible about children wanting to be with their own mother?

missy on

I have nothing against Mira Sorvino, but I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the hypocrisy of her statements. In her previous post, she mentioned that she had 5 movies in post-production. Unless her husband is a SAHD, someone else had to be watching her children for a large part of the day while she was filming all those movies.
Or is she saying that she regrets her decision to work and is now going to be staying home with her children full-time?

Mary on

Ash – Have you discussed this anger and resentment you have towards your mother? If you discussed it with her (opposed to bashing her on a message board) she would probably explain to you that she chose love over money and she did what her heart told her to do at the time.

Anika on

I find it odd that to Mira’s comment of “Kids suffer when raised by nannies” many people respond with, “Did you ever consider that many moms WANT to work?”

Guess what? It’s not about YOU.

Pencils on

The thing is though, that a lot of mothers wouldn’t be happy at home all day with their kids. I miss my daughter terribly when I’m at work, but I know I’d be climbing the walls if I were home all day, every day with her. I’m just not a SAHM person. For those of you who are happy with that choice, kudos to you. I was raised by a SAHM and it was wonderful. My parents made a lot of sacrifices so that we could live that way. However, it’s no longer possible to raise a family in the metro NY area on a salary comparable to my dad’s, or what my husband makes now. So, we juggle: my mom watches my daughter three or so days a week, my husband does shift work so he’s home on some weekdays with her, and I’m here on the weekends. (We pay my mom, BTW, she deserves to be compensated.) You do what you have to do these days, but no one should get on their high horse about “why have kids if you don’t raise them.” Day care doesn’t hurt kids, and they still know who their parents are. America needs to change how we look at family life–it’s no longer the 1950s, and it never was, to be honest. Lots of women with kids had to work in the 50s, they just weren’t in the boardroom. They were teachers, factory workers, seamstresses, housecleaners, waitresses, etc. Women with kids have always worked, it’s never changed, and it’s only going to get more common.

Susan on

Working moms (who CHOOSE to work to “fulfill” themselves, make tons of money for fancy cars, etc., NOT the ones who work to pay the bills) can make all the excuses in the world. But seriously, your child is in the care of someone else for 40+ hours per week. Quit pretending that you are their main caregiver, because you aren’t. I hope that when you are 80 years old you have fond memories of the office.

Yes, I am completely judgmental, and I do not apologize for it. The bottom line is you prefer being away from your kid all day. Do you ever stop to think how your child interprets that choice? Mommy would rather go to work than play with me. Awesome.

sugarhoney on

Susan,I absolutely agree with you.My thoughts exactly.Look at all the actresses who lie and say it doesn’t affect their children….when they are away for weeks on end.Then when their career fizzle out they write a tell all book and say how affected their children were by their long absences.

klm on

Susan, you’re right! For example, if you have a job at say, a bank, and you only work one day a week, isn’t it ridiculous to say you are a full-time employee and that your job is your life?

If you CHOOSE your career over raising your kids, so be it. But please stop lying to yourself and everyone else saying your kids are your “number one priority” and you are not only a full-time employee somewhere but “a full-time” mom, because YOU ARE NOT. It isn’t possible!

kay on

My mom stayed home with us when we were in school and I wouldn’t trade those times for anything. Having her there to hear about our day, cook and do crafts with us, play with us and be there when we were sick or sad was so important. Nothing she could have bought me by working would have been worth not having her around. We didn’t have a lot of money and didn’t do expensive things, but I had a great childhood because my mom was always there.

Annie on

“But seriously, your child is in the care of someone else for 40+ hours per week. Quit pretending that you are their main caregiver, because you aren’t. I hope that when you are 80 years old you have fond memories of the office.”

I guess the same can be said about schools and teachers? Your children’s teachers are “raising” them by this definition because at certain point your children spend more waking hours in school than at home.

This discussion is ridiculous and is filled with the babble of stay-at-moms trying to rationalize having insiginificant lives outside of their children. Honestly, if the only contribution you want to make to this world is having kids, knock yourself out. But, don’t feel entitled to judge mothers who choose make additional cotributions through their work — lawyers, doctors, scientists. We need them, and we need their perspectives in the workplace and contributions to society.

And, when they are 80 years old, they will have fond memories of their children and arguing before the Supreme Court or saving another person’s life through surgery.

Emily Zara on

I find Mira Sorvino’s comments and many of the comments in this thread to be very very judgmental. There are a lot of parents who are simply not in the position to stay at home. And furthermore, having a variety of influences plus the socialization of preschool is beneficial for a child.

When my daughter was a baby, we had a nanny for 25 hours a week. I still nursed my daughter until she was 12 months old and she had a parent reading to her and putting her to bed each night. I took her to the park in the late afternoons and made up for that work time after she went to sleep. Our nanny helped me preserve my already-built career (I was the primary breadwinner) during the first 18 months of my daughter’s life.

Now that she is 4, she is in preschool nearly full-time while both her parents work, as is financially necessary. She LOVES school. Her teachers aren’t raising her, we are. But she gets exposed to all kinds of playing and learning and social experience that she wouldn’t get at home with me day in and day out.

And she watches no television.

And we are raising her.

Alice on

Susan, you talk like 3 years are ALL a child’s life! Do you realise that once kindergarten starts and school starts the children will (almost) never be home again during work hours? Do you feel less of a mom when your kid goes to school? I doubt it, and you shouldn’t.

How contradictory is it to spend all your time teaching your children about life and exciting activities and letting them dream of being doctors or astronauts or whatever, only to end up saying they *have* to give it all up because they have a family? Would you not want them to have a choice and keep doing something they love and are good at without people like you trying to make them feel guilty? I wonder.

As for Anika, yes of course it’s about you. Your life is about you. You can pretend otherwise but if you make choices that make you unhappy because it’s supposedly “not about you” people around you might suffer from it.

Susan on

I knew I would get the “but what about when they go to school?” argument. Do you really think the physical and emotional needs of a 2 or 3 year old are the same as those of a 7 year old? Of course I want my kids to go to school and interact, JUST LIKE my kids at home interact every day with other kids, relatives, and activities. It’s just that I’m the one doing it with them, not hired help.

Mary on

Annie

We are talking about the fundamental years: birth until they go to school which are the most important and the time that should be spent with your child. School age children thrive in a social setting so of course, they go to school at age five.

I’m a SAHM and I have to admit, like some people mentioned they couldn’t do it, it’s hard. It’s not easy. There are some periods when I’m the picture perfect mommy: I read, do crafts, make meals that would put Martha to shame, day trips, etc. Then there are periods that I’m burnt out and have a dry spell and don’t give my kids 100% of my attention all day long but you know what? I’m THERE WITH THEM. And I think that speaks louder than words.

joyce on

Personally my son loves his daycare, I kept him home with me one day a week and he kept asking if he could go play with his friends. Also I love working, I am not someone that can sit home all day playing with a toddler, just not me.

I think women that are SAHM are wonderful and deserve a lot of credit for its a full time job and I think you are doing what you think is best for your family.

I think women that have careers and love their jobs and have their children in daycare or in the care of a nanny are just as great they are doing what they feel is best for their families.

Why is it that some people are so judgmental on one way or the other, I mean if my child was kicking and screaming about daycare each day I’d feel differently but he runs out of the car, I know he is enjoying his PLAY time. And I know I’m a better parent having at the end of the day for the time I spend with him.

Also this whole argument on making sacrifices doesn’t work for some people, I grew up in a home that we were constantly struggling to make ends meat, the mortgage and we made A LOT of sacrifices, I didn’t play sports, go on trips with the school or with friends, we never vacationed, I never had anything new to wear etc…do I say that b/c poor me,not at all, just that I chose differently for my family. I want those things for my kids to some degree, but also instilling in them that you need to work for everything you have.

What works for some families doesn’t work for others, unlike what some of you may think there is no exact formula, there are things to consider when you say make sacrifices, like where you live (cost of living), what your state will provide or mandate (ie you have to have health insurance) etc… I would like to know specifically what your sacrifices are, not out of spite but to truly understand the statement.

Again I applaud both sides, but don’t judge me b/c I chose to go to work b/c I DO NOT judge you for staying home.

joyce on

For those that say I’m there for my children and that speaks volumes who are you trying to convince, me, yourself, your kids?
I think some of you on the “SAHM is the best thing for all children” soapbox aren’t really thinking of your children, as much as making yourselves feel better. Quite frankly if you ask teachers of children entering into preschool and higher if they can pick out most SAH children vs. daycare or nanny cared for children they will quickly tell you yes they can and not for good reasons. Just food for thought once you step down off that soap box.

I just think it’s funny you all make it sound like these children won’t flourish or thrive and lack love and attention b/c their mothers work…I mean really it’s laughable.

Do you for once think maybe having your child in an environment with others a couple hours/days a week might actually be beneficial to their SOCIAL development and yes I’m referring to 1, 2 and 3 year olds…not 7 year olds. You’d be surprised at what these children are capable of learning at these ages, and I’m sure (not 100% of course) that social skills and interaction with others their age, older and younger is a benefit not a detriment.

I have a lot of SAHM and I applaud their efforts, but a lot of you on here that are so judgmental I don’t applaud you. I think your way of thinking will be a detriment to your children. Not the love you show them but the lack of ability to show them there is more than one right way to do things in life.

Susan on

“Quite frankly if you ask teachers of children entering into preschool and higher if they can pick out most SAH children vs. daycare or nanny cared for children they will quickly tell you yes they can and not for good reasons. Just food for thought once you step down off that soap box.”

I don’t really agree with this. I think people OVERestimate what kids learn in daycare and UNDERestimate what kids learn at home with their SAH parent. The assumption that SAHMs just sit at home all day is unfair. Every SAHM I know takes their kids to playgroups, children’s museums, music classes, etc. They read, learn colors and numbers, and teach their kids all kinds of things, including exposure to social interaction. Honestly, some kids (daycare or SAH) are just outgoing or shy by nature, and it doesn’t matter where they spend their days.

joyce on

Lets be realistic it’s not referring to all, just that most of the friends, family etc that I do know in this field of education (and I know a lot again not every single one) do say they are able to tell.

I believe I also said this: I have a lot of SAHM and I applaud their efforts, but a lot of you on here that are so judgmental I don’t applaud you. I think your way of thinking will be a detriment to your children. Not the love you show them but the lack of ability to show them there is more than one right way to do things in life.

Agree with me or disagree with me thats fine, but don’t judge people based on what is right for your family. I don’t think parents (again most not all) put their children in daycare b/c they want to skirt raising them, they have their reasons and while those reasons may not work for your family it’s working for theirs. So really who are you to judge?

mimmey on

Ash–I find you to be offensive. I don’t have children and so don’t know how I will feel about continuing to work. That’s my decision, but I digress.

My point–you mom made the decision to stay at home and raise you. She thought that was best. Now, she finds herself in diffcult circumstances, and is needing you to help her. How can you resent her? How can you be upset that she needs to stay with you until things become better. How can you judge her decision to stay home and raise you, how do you feel okay blaming her. Blekh. Wow, sometimes parents can’t do anything right, huh?

Again, I don’t know what I am going to do when I have children. I am certainly not going to judge anyone for their decisions. I love my career, I’ve worked hard for it, and can’t imagine giving it up. I might feel differently once I have kids. I just hope whatever happens I won’t have my child judging me for the decisions I made at the end of it all.

Melissa on

I find it interesting that people are saying children of SAHM’s are not as socially developed or educated by the time they get to preschool. My kids are at home with me, and my daughter is the best reader in her kindergarten class. She and her younger sisters have no trouble making friends, even with those kids we randomly meet at the neighborhood park. In fact, I have never met a child of a SAHM that has been painfully shy or lagged behind in school just because their parents didn’t put them in day care. I think if there were any truth to the idea that your kids won’t be as social or do well in school if you were a SAHM, I might see it happen at least once. Of course, this may happen sometimes depending on the child’s personality or intellectual ability, but not because they aren’t in day care.

One interesting thought – my children’s doctor was quick to point out to me “You must be a stay-at-home mom.” I asked her what made her say that, and she said “I can always tell.” She then listed off what she has seen: kids of SAHM’s don’t get sick as often, and when they do it heals much faster, their parents know all their symptoms and all the patterns of their health and can answer the doc’s questions more fully and accurately, and if there is any doubt, she watches how the child reacts when they get a shot. She said the kids of SAHM’s are able to be comforted much faster than those of day care kids. She said they respond more quickly to their moms and calm down faster.

Now, before everyone freaks out about this, she said herself that this is hardly scientific evidence. However, she also points out that over her years with kids, she is so very rarely wrong about whether the child has an at-home parent or not. She went as far as to say that even though her findings may never be published, it is more than enough to convince her that day care is not something she would ever choose if she were to have children. Unfortunately, she gave up her practice a few months ago, because she decided it is time to become a mother herself. She now works very part-time in an urgent care clinic where she can adjust her hours as she likes so she will be able to be at home with her kids when they come along.

SH on

Thank you Melissa. My oldest is also a good reader – this year she tested at a 3rd grade level for reading AND comprehension when she was entering Kindergarten. All the things your pediatrician talked about are also things that OUR pediatrician has talked about with all 4 of my kids.

I don’t care if you stay at home or work…whatever floats your boat…but joyce, your post was a bunch of bologna. If you don’t want people judging you for working then don’t make SAHM’s and their children out to be some unsocial dummies.

Diana on

I feel the same way as Mira; I can’t imagine having someone else raise my kids. That is how I feel and my choice. I feel like the Working moms are being just as critical of the SAHMs and then criticize the SAHMs for being critical of them.

I will not ever understand how someone would rather work then stay home with their kids when they have the choice (or who aren’t willing to give up expensive cars and houses to stay at home with their kids) Its just sad to me when I see material possessions are more important than being with your kids. I do believe though that many people don’t have a choice and I wouldn’t fault them at all. It just annoys me when people claim not to be able to stay home when it is clear that they are just not willing to make any sacrifices to stay at home with their kids.

Vida on

I may be in a different position than most….a single foster mother….but I have found in no way has my foster daughter “suffered” from being in daycare. She was placed in my care at 2 1/2 months old and immediately started daycare. To this day she loves the daycare setting and has a great time playing with/watching the other children and when I pick her up after work she is ready for our time together. My daycare is not a replacement, they are assistance in my raising/taking care of this little girl. The structure provided by daycare in addition to my personal care of this child has been beneficial to her well-being and development. With the additional stress of what this little girl has to deal with, she is amazingly well-adjusted and I have raised her to be accepting of care from others that provide her the same excellent care that I do. Proof and point that some children THRIVE in daycare is that at 8 months old she was returned to her parents (to SAHM & working father) care for a VERY short time before having to return to foster care. Out of ANY routine and home with a parent was not beneficial to this child. (And yes, I did spend time with parents explaining what I knew about their child and what worked well and explained the benefits of a routine at home – even if it was not daycare – and was willing to be contact for assistance if they needed.) I spent the following full week getting baby back into a structured routine (also dealing with other issues) and helping her readjust to the structure and routine she craved. Now at almost a year old….daycare has continued provided her a safe haven that in addition to my care allows her to thrive and venture forward in this world. The daycare is NOT raising her, they are part of her world and care for her as I do. We make it work and do what we have to do…..I have no remorse for having to send her to daycare. She is still MY foster daughter and she knows that…daycare does not replace the primary caregiver (AND I am not trying to replace her parents either – but as the primary “parent” it is natural that baby view me as such). So as some stated….why have children if you are going to let others take care of them? Should I NOT be a foster parent (I have no children of my own) since the children would have to go to daycare during the day? It is a different situation….but still I have to utilize outside SAH to take care of my “child”.

Vida on

@Melissa….

There are just not enough words to talk about your posting. Shame on you. Your doctor’s comment (as well as your own) are condescending and INACCURATE about parents that choose daycare or other services.

Melissa on

Lee- I am definitely not lying. I wouldn’t do that, and certainly not for the purpose of making someone feel bad about themselves. My kids are doing exceptionally well in school, and they do make friends with nearly everyone they meet! Okay, I guess you think I am lying about my doctor and what she said, but I assure you I am not. The only reason I pointed that out, is another commenter mentioned that teachers have said the kids of a SAHM come in less ready for school and struggle socially. I added an opinion from another professional who also works exclusively with children and reported her findings. I was also quick to say these are not scientific, hard-data kinds of things (no control groups or placebos in effect, cross-sampled cohorts or anything else) but it amazed my doctor how accurately she could make the distinction based on certain things. It was enough to convince her that children are healthier physically and emotionally by having a parent at home with them (she also never indicated “mother,” just a parent rather than utilizing day care). Now, she will be at home when her childrens’ father works, and she will some hours when he is able to be at home. I was heartbroken when she said she was no longer going to be their doctor, but she said “I have taken care of everyone else’s families, now it is time for me to have and care for my own.” I couldn’t argue for a second, and I gave her a hug and wished her all the best luck.

Vida- I believe very strongly in my opinion, and I also believe I have strong evidence (not just what is written here) to support my opinion. That being said, I also made a posting earlier in this discussion. Now, I certainly understand that you are not so focused on ME that you would connect something a few days ago on here to what I wrote yesterday. I mean, there is certainly more than just one Melissa from Oregon, right? Anyway, I was very clear that I feel so strongly about this, but that I would never say any working mom is not a loving mother. I used my sister-in-law as an example, that we disagree on this subject with our whole hearts, but we treat each other with love and respect, and would never behave differently just because we disagree. The same is true for my working mom friends – they are loving, wonderful mothers, and some of my favorite women in the world. Still, we disagree, and we know exactly how much we disagree. So, we argue about whether we are Team Jacob or Team Edward instead. I mean it! Politics, SAHM vs. WM, religion, once the discussion turns too strong, one of us will shout out something like “Jacob has way better abs!” and then she is called a cougar for staring at a teenager, and so on and so on. Safer topic. Sometimes…

Also, I know you still may see me as condescending and inaccurate, but I want to thank you anyway for being willing to open your home and your heart to children who need you. I wonder if people realize what a brave and difficult thing that is to do. The news reports stories about bad foster families that are abusing the system to get money from the state as well as abusing the children that are in their care. Naturally, we don’t hear about those who are simply saving the lives of children by providing them with a safe and loving home- something every child deserves. So, thank you.

Kira on

Someone made an EXCELLENT point. Some children, not all, THRIVE in a structured environment at a VERY young age. While some DO suffer, as far as attachment goes, but i think it is all in how you parent your children…
I have heard SAHMs say that their children are terrors and they are at their wits end by the end of the day. These particular moms don’t have structure…the day just “goes with the flow.”
BUT I have also heard WOHM say that their children are TERRORS when they get home from daycare or while they are in daycare.
Every child is different….I don’t find anything wrong with a SAHM sending their child to a half day preschool 8am-12pm so that their child can have that structured play/learning and Mom can get a break too or time to get errands or things done around the house. It does not make her a bad mom at all! She still gets plenty of time with her child per day. You don’t have to be a martyr to be a SAHM, no one will judge you if you DO need some time each day.
WOHM should not be judged either. It works for her family. There are TWO people in the equation…yeah, she can make sacrifices to SAH, but what if her husband does not WANT the stress of carrying the load alone? What if their family just THRIVES with the extra income? Not all WOHM work 40+ hrs a week either…I don’t think WOHM are choosing material things over being with their children 24/7 I think they are choosing things that make THEIR family comfortable and sane overall…

We wouldnt have a thriving society heck, I would go as far as say the human race might suffer a bit in numbers, if folks had to stop working if they wanted children….children of WOHMs don’t always grow up to be heathens who wreck the word and are dumb. Children of SAHMs don’t always grow up to be antisocial simpletons either.

Jeanne on

Congratulations, you’ve all succeeded in convincing me to never have children. Because no matter what my decision was there’d be women like you all judging me. Kudos.

My mom stayed home until I (the youngest) was 4, my brother is staying home with his two boys while his wife works, my best friend is a SAHM, her husband had a nanny as a child but was still breastfed well past age two and spent tons of time with his parents, my friends are a mix of working moms and SAH moms who use relatives and daycare, and you know what? All of the kids are fine and we all turned out okay.

Feminism is about women being able to choose what they want to do with their lives, not about being guilted into choosing one path over another by judgmental ladies (as many of you are.) Every woman is different and every family is different. Variety is the spice of life. Respect it.

Mary on

Melissa –
Awesome post. I laugh at the following posters that say you’re lying like you would make up a whole conversation!!!

I want to put my 2 cents in about preschools knowing which kids are from daycare and which are with SAHMs (now that’s laughable and that’s a lie!). I sent both of my kids to 3 & 4 year old preschool and they both do/did very well. Something I should point out is that once a cousin of mine told me that because I was going to stay home with my kids (which his wife does too now), they were going to be clingy and anti-social. Ha! I stongly believe with every fiber of my being that my kids are two of the most social kids I’ve seen in their schools and on the playgrounds. If anything, by them NOT being raised in a cattle pen (group daycare) has made them all the more social. All the kids in daycare that I’ve known are the rough animals. My friend’s daughter was raised in daycare and she sets up constant play dates for her. Today, her daughter is anti-social. Every time we see her, at her house or ours, she doesn’t interact with my kids, sits in the corner or keeps to herself. She’s been so ‘over socialized’ she’s sick of it and just wants to be by herself. I’m aware not all kids are like this but what are these parents trying to prove? Pushing your kids to be ‘socialized’ is disgusting.

Vida on

@ Melissa –
Thank you for your comment and I do apologize for my short retort to your post. And it is good you stand by your beliefs. I think I was most offended by your doctors comments. While my foster daughter does get sick more than I would like….I do know everything about her and baby responds accordingly the same as what that your doctor supposedly see’s with SAH children.

I don’t feel anyone should be looked down upon or be made to feel guilty for their choices – either staying at home or working. To each their own. For each child it is different….A LOT of it has to do with the parenting. You don’t have to be a SAH parent to be a good parent or to have excelled children. My foster daughter has rapidly excelled from a premie to almost being on target developmentally with her age group. This is because of my involvement and some help from daycare. I don’t shirk my time when I get off work…heck yes I am tired…but I make the most of our time and am there for her 100%. I don’t think staying at home with your children is bad or that they lack anything…but I do feel there is a stigma that SAH mom’s place on working parents for not making that same choice. And probably vice versa. That being said there are good SAH parents and bad ones too.

AE on

These debates make me a little sad because it is women tearing down women, and I think most moms (SAHM or working) try hard to be good mothers. Many men will be more than happy to tear us down, why add fuel to the fire?

I too have lived both sides, and I did enjoy being a stay at home mom. However, I have seen plenty of obnoxious, unruly children of “devoted SAHMS” and great working women with great kids. I agree with Adrienne: “If you give your children 100% you will end up resentful.” And the kids are likely to end up as narcissists. Indulged SAHM children are not necessarily a good thing.

And I think everyone really needs to pay attention to the post by “it’s too dangerous to SAH.” Personally and professionally I know this to be true. The court system expects women to “rehabilate” themselves (not the cheating or abusive husband). In a nutshell, any woman who is the least bit dependant on a man is vulnerable. But rather than condemn women further, why not impose stronger sanctions for irresponsible men?

Kerri on

Frankly, I think it’s healthy for your kids to know that their mom’s entire world doesn’t revolve around them. I’m surprised by the amount of mothers on here who think a woman having a career means she can’t have a family, and that you have to be on call for your child 24-7. Get some balance, ladies. You didn’t cease to be a human being with other needs/wants once you had kids.

Whether you stay at home or work, it’s about balance. Continue to be a functioning human being, do things for yourselves, enjoy your career (if you have one) and spend plenty of time with your kids. Mommy isn’t the ONLY person in your child’s life — there’s a big world out there.

Anonymous on

Personally, I think it’s great to work AND stay at home with your children. I am with my son four days a week and work three. I am able to help provide an income and also maintain a career. My son loves his daycare and is able to have social interaction with other children. When he is with me he get’s to go to the park and or playdates allowing him to interact with his peers as well. I honestly think it’s just petty and mean to try to tell others how to raise their children. You and your partner or just yourself need to decide what works best for you and yours. None of us has the right to judge each other just worry about your own situation.

Karen on

I’m a working mother with a child in a daycare of 7 children, hardly what I’d call a “cattle pen”. He loves it, he is developmentally thriving, so I guess I should be ashamed at myself for having such a well rounded child b/c I’m not there for him 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

From those on this board stating its something they don’t get nor would ever do and therefore it’s wrong is judgmental and not something I myself would want my child to learn.

I think being a SAHM is a full time job and I applaud all of SAHM that do it, you don’t get enough credit IMO. Personally for my family its not the right formula we all thrive in the situation we are currently in, including and most of all my son.

I would just hope that people would be more open to “different” ways of doing things rather than saying it’s not right b/c you don’t understand it or can’t fathom it. What I dislike most is the tone in some of these statements of how can a woman honestly want to work and leave a child, as if you are leaving them on the side of the road for the next available person to drive by and throw a bottle in their mouths.

Just remember what works for you and your family doesn’t work for all families, keeping an open mind is a wonderful thing to teach a child!

Feminist mom on

I am so incredibly disappointed with the postings in this blog. Having choice and the freedom to decide what is best for our children are luxuries that many women around the world are not afforded. Instead of embracing the common bond among us (we all love our children and want what is best for them), many of you are attempting to define motherhood, and what it means to be a good mother, to the detriment of those exercising their freedom to work outside the home. You justify this by anectodal evidence that children are better off being raised by their mothers. Again, please for the sake of women’s rights (and for your daughters), stop tearing each other apart and judging one another for the choices that others have died to preserve.

HL on

I think that every mother does what she thinks is best for her own children within her own family’s means. I don’t think a mother makes a choice thinking “I’m going to this because it will really mess up my child”. We all need to learn to accept how others choose raise their children and give them the same respect as we would want them to show us for our own decisions.

TL on

What a very ignorant judement. I love my boys more than anything in this world, however, I work and so does my husband. I work mainly for the insurance. My husband’s job does not offer it and for us to buy it out of pocket thru an indepent agency it would cost us 5xs as much as is for me to get it thru my job. Our boys go to the best daycare center in our area. Both of my kids love it and thrive there. They have no issues at all. The daycare works with me very well. Also, they provide a detailed sheet about what went on for the day, I even know when my kids go the bathroom. While I would love to stay home w/ them, for us its not an option. My I pride myself in still having quality time with them. They are not lacking love at all.

Sara on

We also had to make sacrifices , my husband worked 2 jobs so I could MOTHER my own children !. We placed our values in them , I also will never understand why people have children only to turn them over to others for 8 to 10 hours a day!. Children do grow up and ours are wonderful and loving adults now. They remember the cupcakes I baked and the school trips I went on , this forms their childhood memories. We made due with 1 car and few dinners out but our children are worth the sacrifice, It’s not forever ,go on have your jobs and your careers only wait until your children are older!

LPW on

I’m a *gasp* childless woman, but I interpret Mira’s comments as a critique of other celebrities, rather than “regular” working women. After all, most people do not employ nannies. It goes without saying that Mira is not in a position to tell middle-class and working-class or poor women that they should stay home with their kids. If she values that and can afford it, then good for her.

Megan on

Some women aren’t meant to stay home,and any woman that makes that choice is totally entitled to make it! To say that working mothers don’t deserve or shouldn’t have children is pretty absurd. However, I often hear mothers who are in low-paying careers say they wish they could stay home but they “have” to work, and I don’t believe that EVERY woman who says they HAVE to work really does. My husband made 35K last year and I still chose to stay at home with our three kids although I am the one with the degree. We bought an inexpensive home that we fixed up ourselves, and we drive the same paid-off cars we’ve had for a decade. They take classes at the local community center instead of expensive franchises. If you want to live in a 3000 square foot house and drive two newer cars, yea, you will probably have to work. But don’t claim that you don’t have a choice- keeping up a cushy lifestyle IS a choice that makes working necessary. If they really wanted to stay home, many women could but it’s not worth the lifestyle downgrade to them. Someday I will probably go back to work, when things like vacations and various activities matter more to my children. As preschoolers, I believe they need me more than most material things. Want to reiterate I don’t judge women who CHOOSE to work, it just annoys me when SOME women claim they don’t have a choice and they envy those who can “afford” to stay home. I can “afford” it because we sacrifice a LOT.

Anthea on

Mira should be ashamed of her medieval thinking!

Whatever happened to having the right to make your own decisions? Just as Mira choses to stay home with her kids (and she expects nobody to judge her), working moms should not be judged for chosing to work or in some cases needing to work to support their families.

I guess she’s going to home school her kids because by her logic – they would suffer if they weren’t cared for by her 100%.

Anthea on

My husband and I work and we have used both the nany route and daycares. My child and most kids at his school are articulate, well mannered, sociable and caring. His teachers do a phenomenal job caring for those children and it’s clear they love those kids deeply.

On their behalf and mine, I take deep offense at Mira Sorvino’s judgmental comments. She freely made her choice – I value being able to make mine.

Julia on

Am I alone in thinking that the most horrific thing in this whole dialogue is Melissa’s pediatrician declaring that two-working-parent families are jeopardizing their children’s physical and emotional health and aren’t as capable as stay-at-home mothers of reporting their children’s symptoms, monitoring their health, and giving them comfort when they’re sick? Good grief.

That we continue to fan the flames of the mommy wars with the implicit and explicit judgments that working mothers are less loving, less devoted, less worthy, or less willing to sacrifice is disheartening enough. We all lose (as do our daughters) when we continue to shoot darts at the choices other parents make.

Elizabeth on

with the star turning down several “intriguing situations both financially and career-wise”

Yeah, I bet… hahahahaha – I bet they are just beating down the doors for her!!

ChanelB on

I too have been disappointed in all of the close-minded and judgmental comments. I have seen phenomenal & balanced SAHMs as well as loving and present full-time working mothers. On the flip-side I have also seen SAHMs who resent their children and have weakened marriages and working mothers who make me wonder, “why did you have children.”

I’m a full-time working mom; however, I fortunately have the flexibility to make it to every field trip, award banquet, every doctor’s appointment, I know how to read everyone of my son’s distressed cues, and most importantly, I can honestly say that EVERY single moment I spend with my son, he has no doubt that he is loved, wanted, and he has never seen me short-tempered. I respect SAHMs, but I know if I were one, he would see me aggravated with him and I’m so “Type A,” I would be such a micro-managing mother I would suffocate him. My job gives me the adult mental stimulation that I crave, which makes me the happiest and most loving mom I can be. It also affords us the opportunity to take many trips, which IMHO has given my son global awareness and enhanced perspective. Also, keeping my brain functioning at a high-level has helped keep my marriage strong. For the 6-months I did stay at home, I personally didn’t feel like myself.

And for those that say, go back to work later…it’s not that easy. I have a very challenging, well-paying, and flexible job. You can’t leave an industry for 5+ years and just jump back into a job like that. I’d much rather keep this job and continue to
have flexibility when my son comes home with his first heart-break. It’s the best opportunity for me to be a well-rounded mother for 18+ years, as opposed to 5.

I truly believe that to be the best mother you can be, you need to look at yourself and be confident in your decision. I used to get upset when SAHMs would judge me,but I know that my son is happy, loved, successful, balanced, appreciative, and will hopefully believe that you can “have it all.”

Delaina on

It never ceases to amaze me how women can be so hateful and judgemental of each other….

Linda on

Delaina took the words right out of my mouth. This is another example of a woman passing judgment on other women. Whether you have to work, want to work, or get to stay home, we all love our kids. Why some women choose to make motherhood into a contest (“I stay home, so I obviously love my kids more!”) is a sign of their own insecurities.

joyce on

I’m just curious for all these mothers that think working mothers are horrible,
Do you see men as your primary doctors? your pediatricians? your dentists? are your childrens teachers or perspective teachers men?

B/c I would waiver to guess that some are actually working mothers that fulfill these roles in yours and your childs life.
So is it ok for them to be working mothers leaving their children in the care of someone else b/c it serves you and your childs purpose?

Feminist mom on

@Julia
You are not alone in being shocked at Melissa’s physician’s irresponsible comments. Here is a summary of the HATEFUL, CONDESCENDING, and IRRESPONSIBLE comments made by mothers (who are supposed to educate their children and teach them the value of respect and love)-

1. If you work outside the home, you a) are not budgeting your money carefully and can really make it if you simply sacrifice; b) are selfish for wanting materialistic items and not sacrificing; c) putting your needs (either financial or emotional) above your children

2. If you work outside the home, your child runs the risk of being a)antisocial; b) academically behind; c) starved for attention and love; and a myriad of other horrible conditions because mothers are putting their needs above their children’s

Perhaps if these mothers were working outside the home (and were forced to interact with more adults in a work environment), they would better understand that it is NOT acceptable to make these irresponsible comments.

Megan on

feminist mom, there were hateful, condescending, irresponsible comments made towards stay at home moms as well– apparently we are mush-brained slobs who lead “insignificant lives” and our only contribution to society is “pushing out babies.” Obviously women who interact with adults all day long haven’t learned manners either- let’s not pretend that the working moms posting here have acted with any more tact or class than the SAHMs.

Bren on

Wow, as a nanny I find this statement extremely insulting. I love the children I work with and have been with the family through 3 children and consider them my family. I am there from 8 to 5 and it is the most rewarding job. The baby I watch does not suffer one bit. He enjoys having one on one time with me and when his parents come home they devote all their time to him and their daughters. This statement is just terrible! I can understand not wanting to leave your child with someone else but don’t say they suffer. The girls are older and still love when I pick them up from school or they stay home on no school days because we have fun and they have just as much fun with their parents but when its someone new it is like a treat for them. It is sad she can’t see that it is nice for some families.

Melissa on

I am feeling the need to defend my doctor for a minute, so please bear with me. Her comments were simply observations of her own patients, not irresponsible or random judgements. Of course kids in day care get sick more often – they are around other kids, all day long, all week! It is the same thing when the school year starts, and the kids seem to bring germs home more often that homework. We’ve all been through that, whether you are at-home mom or a working mom. As far as reporting symptoms and health patterns more accurately, it is as simple as I am the one who is watching their behaviors and symptoms all day every day. I am not needing to report what their day care provider noticed or didn’t notice, because I saw it all myself. It is the same exact reason that most often I take the girls to their doctor’s appointments rather than their dad. While he knows them and loves them dearly, he’s not the one who saw it all, beginning to end. I simply have more detailed information than he does, not that he isn’t qualified or something! He’s an awesome dad, I just have the details. It most certainly doesn’t mean that I am the better parent. I can’t begin to explain why a child would calm down faster after a brief trauma like a shot if you are at home rather than working. Is it because at day care there are more kids to attend to, and they can’t jump every time something happens to one of them? It might make sense. I know my response time slowed slightly from having one child to having three. That isn’t a stay at home or working mom thing – that’s just the fact you are distracted by one child when the other bumps their head. Either way, it’s what she saw. NOT AT ALL that working moms can’t soothe their kids or are bad mothers or don’t pay attention or anything else ridiculous like that. Just some little things that made her wonder if there is a physical and emotional benefit to being at home. It isn’t irresponsible to take in information and draw your own conclusion. And, it isn’t irresponsible or hateful to share your observations and let others draw their own conclusions.

Women on both sides of these posts have said awful things about the other. That is wrong. We can disagree forever, and we will, but the important thing is whether or not you are truly at peace with your choices. If you are, there is no need to throw stones to the other side. You can easily disagree without resorting to the hateful stuff and insulting the other side just to be mean. We can all admit there are benefits and drawbacks to staying at home and working. Neither style is perfect, nor is any mother.

Lee on

@Melissa, different day but you’re still lying. How sad that you believe you have ‘morals’ but yet you can’t stop yourself from lying.

Jen on

Melissa, I had to laugh at your initial post about the doctor. There are numerous articles/studies/etc, showing that children who attend daycare in earlier years actually have STRONGER immune systems than children who did not. Why? Because their immune systems get exposed to more earlier and learn how to fight germs off earlier. Children who attended daycare are less likely to be absent from school due to illness in the first year to two years (and are less likely to be asthmatic). Where did your doctor go to school not to know that?

My daughter attends daycare ( she’s18 months) and she has only ever had colds, which have been short, and fever free. In fact, the kid has never HAD a fever, even with attending her “cattle pen”. I can even tell you what her first symtpoms are and how long her colds typically last (even with my neglectful parenting). She’s been ahead on all her physical milestones, and is ahead of the curve in language.

What I see in this thread is most working mom’s saying they’ve made tough choices, but that they were right for THEIR families, but that different things work for different families. Good mothers are not one size fits all.

And then there are the SAHM’s who are gleefully pointing out how much better parents they are, how much happier, healthier, smarter, more attached their children are BECAUSE they stay at home.

Thank god, none of my SAHM friends have their heads so far up their a**es.

I’m willing to bet that if you watch a group of toddlers play, you’d have a hard time picking out which ones are daycare kids and which ones aren’t (though I venture to guess that daycare kids are a bit better at sharing) based on how much they are loved or how attached they are, how bright they are or how happy they are. Now do the same with school age kids, teenagers, college kids, and adults. Rinse and repeat.

Jen on

Oh and Melissa, regarding your doctor’s other views regarding a child’s ability to be comforted?

I’d be glad she’s not going to be my child’s doctor anymore, sounds to me like, not only does she not know her stuff, but she’s also full of it.

Laura on

I’ve actually found that kids that go to daycare tend to be more sick when they are younger. Probably because they are exposed to so many germs (not a bad thing– I was in daycare myself from 6 weeks old til after I started school). Children with stay at home moms tend to get more sick in the school years because they are finally being exposed to the germs that daycare children became immune to years before. I was sick a ton before the age of 5 because I went to daycare but once I entered school, I missed a couple days a year at most. Relatives and friends of mine who did not go to daycare sometimes miss weeks of the school year because they are now being exposed to the germs. I’m not saying one is better than the other because an older child might be able to better fight off germs. But I’m saying that all children seem to be exposed to the same amount of germs throughout their childhood and are sick about the same amount. They just might be sick at different times in their childhood. That is just what I’ve found. I’m sure there are people who have seen differently.

Also for people saying that they know their children will remember their moms being there for them or not when they were little… yeah sure. I barely remember anything before the age of 5. I went to daycare so I have a few memories of that and I have a few memories of spending time with my parents (I went to daycare full time) I remember my mom and dad doing stuff with me just as much as I remember making friends at daycare. Still, I do not have TONS of memories from that time because I was a little kid! I more remember being older and in school and then spending time with my parents in the evenings and on weekends. So while the early childhood years might be the years that are the most important for children doesn’t mean they will remember them. As long as they are happy (no matter if that means they are at daycare or at home with a parent) then THAT is what they will remember and what will be lasting for them.

klm on

This is such a great discussion, one that I needed! It’s great to read the thoughts and opinions of so many different kinds of people! It has been enlightening and thought-provoking.

I am a full-time mom who is theoretically bound to it. Still, I know there are a great many exceptions and that ultimately, if you are a good person, you are a good parent, PERIOD.

People who mostly benefit and believe their kids benefit from mom staying at home are ones who have a really specific way of raising their kids. Like, they are hard-core Christian or vegan or this or that and they can’t rely on a daycare program to instill their specific values on their kids. Just a thought. . .

I will say this, LEE: As much as I have enjoyed this discussion and feel that I have learned a lot from so many of your posts, the one thing that is in no way helpful to anyone is to accuse someone of LYING. Seriously, that it a waste of time and totally immature. You have no way of knowing if someone is lying, it’s the internet for goodness’ sake! If you disagree, just say so, don’t say, “OMG, You’re lying!” That TOPS ALL for ridiculousness!!!

Melissa on

Lee – No, I am not lying. Nor did I make the decision to stay home based on what my doctor said. I only found it interesting and it made me think about why those things would happen, since she did see them consistently. Again, it didn’t mean in any way that if you work your kid is guaranteed to be unhealthy and you will never be able to make them feel better. It is in the same vein that teachers have said the daycare kids are more ready for school and deal better in peer groups with kids they don’t know. Am I going to fight and say you mean my kids are stupid and won’t have friends and I am incapable of teaching them anything? No. Of course not. They are differing views of the benefits of both sides.

Yes, I do have morals, Lee. Not because I am a SAHM, but because of who I am, my values, and how I treat others. I would never attack someone’s character, least of all a stranger, for having an opinion different than mine. I will also teach them to stand up for themselves when others do attack their character, or anything else, and do so in a way that maintains a level of respect and not go down to their level of cruelty. Those are things I will work hard to teach my kids, as I am sure all mothers will – whether they stay home or work.

Jen- I actually did think about what would happen when my oldest went into kindergarten. I wondered if she would have more trouble fighting off illness since she didn’t have as much exposure to different germs. Luckily, she did great. Believe me, I don’t attribute that to anything but luck. Maybe it will help that she brought all that stuff home and gave it to my other two (and me) and they will do great too when they get to school. At least that is what I am hoping, and what I am telling myself. You are right, the game changes when they enter school. My conversations with the doc were about very young kids, not school age. Still, it was only interesting observations on her part, and never an accusation that a working mother is neglectful. How could I say that, when my husband is a working father and he is anything but neglectful?
I don’t diminish his abilities by any means. He has his strengths, and I have mine. They are different, but no less important, loving, and necessary. I don’t think there is a working mom on here who would say there is zero benefit to the mom AND kids when mom stays home. I will freely admit there are benefits to being a working mom, and I am sure all the SAHM’s would do the same. You said it great, good mothers are not one size fits all.

rachel on

More than likely Mira is talking about how she ‘suffered’ by nannies raising her and it is her experience as a child that dictates how she raises her children. Which goes for all of us.

My mom raised us as a single mother, all five of us. We had such respect and a loyalty to her, and an absolutely strong bond. She had a career that taught us to lead our lives with a passion and purpose to pursue our talents and interests. I’m inspired by her dedication to her patients, her career, and only wish that I can inspire my daughter with the same ideals and values that she raised us with. Do I like to leave my daughter, no, but her nanny loves her and is like a big sister. Most stay at home mom’s while they think they are present 100% of the time are not if they are honest with themselves – they have their own ‘working’ lives which may not take them out of the house, but have their interests, and lives that also take them away. I want for my daughter an education, sophistication and to be raised with intelligence and empathy, to be exposed to the world and not be raised on pasta – which is entirely unhealthy by the way!

Mary on

In all my 37 years, I’ve developed a preference to being a SAHM because all I’ve seen and experienced. My own mother was a SAHM, a majority of my friends and relatives are SAHMs. I’ve also seen and heard the other side: the daycare horror stories (one made our local news because the daycare neglect resulted in a brain injured child that now can’t walk!), the daycare complaints, seen the poor development of those children, seen the cost of it, seen the HUGE difference in relationships with mother and child, etc. That’s why I’m on a soap box and standing up for what I feel is right.

joyce on

Mary,
I believe if you turn on the news you will also find parents that do the same horrors to their own children. This world has a lot of monsters in it, they aren’t limited to daycare providers. It’s a poor argument. You are on a soap box for what you think is right and good for you, however as a parent to a child that is in daycare I can attest that there are some great ones out there.

And for every one child that is poorly developed in daycare, there is one that is also the same with a SAHM. Its not bashing SAHM its just pointing out that again your argument is a weak one.

Feminist mom on

Melissa, the reason Lee and others were questioning your veracity is because your doctor’s comments, or at least the way you have interpreted them and shared them with this group of mothers, are completely outrageous, offensive, and irresponsible. In the face of all the empirical studies showing no “stay at home mother” effect with either bonding or development (including the early years), it seems highly unplausible that a competent, responsible physician would make such comments to a patient.

To the list of the horrors that will happen if you choose not to stay home, thanks to Mary, we can now add “threat of brain damage” for those mothers who use day/care services.

Lisa on

And the mommy wars continue. I, for one, CHOOSE to work outside the home. I enjoy my job and I’m good at it. I’m a BETTER mother because I work. If you want to assume that’s harming my children, have at it (you know what they say about assuming), but I’m the one who sees them every day and I know better.

AE on

Ladies, do not respond to “Lee.” Perhaps s/he is a middle school child because his/her comments only consist of calling names while pointing out the wrongs of others. Let’s just say his/her tactics are more akin–although this is giving him/her a bit too much credit–to a major character in the “Screwtape Letters.” It’s also called cyberbullying.

Mama on

It’s taken me a good amount of time to read everyone’s posts. This is obviously a touchy subject. With that said, I feel that overall, the SAHM are much more judgmental. I find that each side is making valuable and true statements, but that overall the SAHM community appears to be condemning and knocking working families. It’s too bad. We’re all doing the best we can. In one way or another.

I feel completely honest when I say that I love, adore and cherish my children, but that I honestly cannot give them 100% all the time. I do my best, but I continue to feel that it takes a village to raise a child. They are fabulous, but there are times when I need a break from being a parent. If even for just a few minutes. I can imagine that most feel this and I would hope that as a community, we could support one another. Regardless of financial status, this topic is loaded as I don’t believe that anyone can make a decision either way and not have the occasional doubt. Why not embrace this and simply say, “Keep up the good work, ladies!” We’re all going to do what is best for our children. If you choose to stay-at-home, great. If you choose to work, great. But parent as best as you know how. Attempt to cherish your choice more often than you doubt it. Keep up the good work, ladies. Not so much the negative postings, but the well contrived family decisions.

SH on

Mama, I would say that it’s the working moms who are more judgemental on THIS post – I’d say 7 out of 10 posts on here are from working moms jumping down Mira’s throat or some other SAHM’s throat.

Julia on

SH, I have to disagree. I’m not suggesting that the exchange has been uniformly respectful from either direction. But I hardly think it’s fair to stay that WOHMs have “jumped down Mira’s throat,” as if the group, unprompted, decided to attack her because she hasn’t been focusing sufficiently on her career.

This discussion was prompted by MIRA’s comment that (all) children “suffer” when they’re left with sitters and that mothers who use nannies (or, presumably, other childcare) are letting others “raise” their kids. I view both of those statements as not only inaccurate as a factual matter (as most generalizations are, including generalizations about SAHMs) but intolerant and harmful.

I can’t and won’t speak for all the WOHMs who’ve commented here, but I think the general consensus is that we should be working toward a dialogue that is more respectful to the choices that all mothers make in the best interests of their own families in their own unique circumstances. What I hope to accomplish (but don’t expect, given the way these things always seem to unfold) by jumping into the fray is to point out how hurtful and damaging those kinds of comments are to mothers who also work outside the home, whether it’s because they have to or because they want to. Most of what I’ve seen from the WOHMs posting here is a DEFENSE of the choices they’ve made in the face of the tired old saws like “if only you were willing to sacrifice like we’ve done” and “I would never let strangers raise MY kids.” The SAHM refrain, spelled out in plain black and white here by more than a handful of commenters, is that women who choose to have families AND careers are lesser — less loving, less devoted to their children, less committed to their well-being, less unselfish, less bonded, less in touch, (less able to comfort their sick children, less concerned about the possibility of brain injuries to their babies), and on and on.

To be clear, I am not advocating that anyone else make the choices I’ve made. No one else is living my life (or raising my kids, for that matter). What I am advocating is a more respectful and inclusive dialogue, and that will only happen when we stop passing judgment about others’ choices. The suggestion that I’m “letting strangers raise my kids” is a hateful judgment about my choices as a mother, no matter how you slice it, and no matter how many times you invoke the 40-hour workweek.

Please note that I’m not defending any criticisms (here or elsewhere) of SAHMs’ choices to SAH. What I wish we could work more productively toward, and what I’d love to see growing for my own childrens’ sakes, is an end to the “my choice is superior to yours” mentality.

Mama on

@SH, I disagree. I feel that many of the SAHMs made comments directly knocking the choices of parents who choose to work. I also realize some working moms made negative comments, but overall, I feel that the working families were merely defending themselves.

Again, I’m not going to choose a side. I feel that each side has their own advantages and disadvantages. I just feel that the working families were attacked on an individual basis. Whereas the SAHMs are having a more difficult time acknowledging that working families are not intentionally hurting their children, they’re simply choosing another option.

I appreciate and agree with Julia’s statement.

Jen on

Bravo Julia!!!

Jen on

Julia,
You drop your kids off on the side of the highway each morning? That’s horrible…

..my daughter is crate trained, it’s much safer :)

ChanelB on

Ditto to Julia, and “Haha” to Jen.

Looking back through the comments I could count on 1 hand the number of “aggressive WOHM” comments, the rest were commenting that their kids are just as happy, healthy, etc. I lost count of the “agressive SAHM” comments at 20.

I just hope that these judgemental values are not passed down to their children. The world would be a much better place if more parents would passdown kindness, grace, and understanding.

klm on

Yeah, but ChanelB, by making a statement like that you are clearly trying to build a case against full-time mothers, using this comment section as your sample group. Implied in your comments – the findings of your study – are that those who SAH are aggressive and those who work outside the home are all peaceful and graceful and kind. Not very kind, graceful and understanding of you.

Jen on

KLM,
You’re making her comment a great deal more far reaching than it was likely meant to be.

Her study? Since when does counting aggressive comments count as a study? And how is it building a case if she’s just “looking back through the comments”?

Jeanne on

Wow, 5 days later and you’re all still arguing about this. Whatever happened to “let’s agree to disagree”? There’s so much snottiness in this thread, it makes me sad.

ChanelB on

KLM,

I think you give me way too much credit saying that I was conducting a study with a sample group. I was just supporting Julia’s comment by summarizing the other comments, and my comment about being more kind & understanding applied to both sides, just not stay at home moms, as I think both parents influence their children.

Ironically if I had to choose SAHM or WOHM moms to be more aggressive than the other, I would say that would probably go to WOHM; just not in these comments.

Just Relax on

Julia- Just relax. You’re not in the courtroom, honey. It’s People.com. Hope all the moms on here enjoy the time spent with the little ones this weekend. It is a blessing to even be able to have children. I almost lost my life and my little guy’s life through my pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum). I have a master’s degree and am a speech pathologist. I also run a health food business from home. I enjoy the time I am with my 2 year old because I am reminded of the miracle he is and the fact that he almost wasn’t here at all. I’ll go back to working as a therapist part-time when he’s in school full-time. For now, I am enjoying all the toddler art classes and play groups, the library story times and the snuggling and reading stories before naptime. My career will wait. I want to enjoy the little boy who still wants to cuddle with me now before he is too big to fit in my arms. I come from a family of minority women who all have careers but stayed home while the little people were still little. That seems to be the right balance for me, too.

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